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Every year, some 6,000 people in the Netherlands are diagnosed with epilepsy. Even though it can occur and start at any age, it usually starts at a young age (before or around the 20th year. In the Netherlands, some 20,000 children have been diagnosed with epilepsy. Some types of epilepsy only occur in early childhood and disappear as the children get older.
Relatively few new cases of epilepsy occur in people between 20 – 60 years. However, after the 60th year, the chance of getting epilepsy becomes bigger. This chance increases as the years increase and is biggest from 75 years onwards. A quarter of all people with epilepsy in the Netherlands if 55 years or older. A common cause of epilepsy at a later age is a cerebral hemorrhage or brain infarct.
People with a brain disease have a relatively large chance of epilepsy. Many types of epilepsy are caused by a brain anomaly, a brain disease or brain damage. In these cases, seizures seldomly disappear spontaneously. Brain damage can occur before or during birth, through an accident, infection, cerebral hemorrhage or brain infarct. Approximately a third of the people with an intellectual disability also has epilepsy.