April 6, 2022

Danish Study – People with Epilepsy Live Shorter Lives

Article published by Science Daily

On average, people with epilepsy live 10-12 years fewer than those who do not have the condition. Excess mortality is particularly pronounced among people with epilepsy and mental disorders. This is shown by research from Aarhus University.

50,000 Danes live with epilepsy, which is one of the most frequently occurring neurological diseases. New research now shows that people with epilepsy die significantly earlier than people without — on average they live 10-12 years less.

“The significantly reduced life expectancy is found both in people who develop epilepsy as a result of an underlying condition, such as brain cancer or stroke, and in those who develop epilepsy without an obvious underlying cause,” explains Julie Werenberg Dreier, who is senior researcher at the National Centre for Register-based Research at Aarhus University and one of the researchers behind the study.

“We discovered that the reduced life expectancy for people with epilepsy was related to a wide range of causes of death which don’t just include the neurological, but also cardiovascular diseases, psychiatric disorders, alcohol related conditions, accidents and suicide,” says Jakob Christensen. He is clinical associate professor at Aarhus University and consultant at the Department of Neurology at Aarhus University Hospital, and is also one of the researchers behind the study.

It was possible to conduct the study by utilising the Danish healthcare registers to follow almost six million Danes, including more than 130,000 people with epilepsy.