Epidemiological assessment of the global burden of epilepsy

Overall, epilepsy contributed more than seven million DALYs (0.5%) to the global burden of disease in 2000 (21, 22). Figure 3.2.1 shows the distribution of DALYs or lost years of healthy life attributable to epilepsy, both by age group and by level of economic development. It is apparent that close to 90% of the worldwide burden of epilepsy is to be found in developing regions, with more than half occurring in the 39% of the global population living in countries with the highest levels of premature mortality (and lowest levels of income). An age gradient is also apparent, with the vast majority of epilepsy-related deaths and disability in childhood and adolescence occurring in developing regions, while later on in the life-course the proportion drops on account of relatively greater survival rates into older age by people living in more economically developed regions.

Figure 3.2.1 Distribution of the global burden of epilepsy, by age group and level of economic development

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