In addition, we know that two proteins that build up in the brain of people with Alzheimer’s disease – amyloid and tau – affect how the brain’s nerve cells communicate with each other. Sometimes these nerve cells can become ‘hyper-excitable’, meaning they can behave uncontrollably, causing epileptic seizures .
The most common seizure experienced by older adults (66.2%) is the complex partial seizure , which is sometimes called a temporal lobe seizure and is accompanied by impaired consciousness.
The most common acquired etiologies of new-onset epilepsy and seizures in the elderly include cerebrovascular diseases, primary neuron degenerative disorders associated with cognitive impairment, intracerebral tumors, and traumatic head injury.
Problems with memory loss, confusion, disorientation, reasoning and communication all become worse. The behavioural changes seen as vascular dementia progresses, such as irritability and agitation , are also similar to those of Alzheimer’s disease . Delusions, and less often hallucinations, are also seen.
In patients with Alzheimer’s disease (the most common form of dementia ), approximately 10-22% have at least one unprovoked seizure . Seizures usually occur in later stages of Alzheimer’s disease, on average, > or =6 years into the course of the disease.
Tonic, Clonic and Tonic-Clonic (Formerly called Grand Mal) Seizures .
Seizures take on many different forms and have a beginning (prodrome and aura), middle (ictal) and end (post-ictal) stage .
These EEGs use video to capture seizure activity. The EEG may show abnormalities even if the seizure does not occur during the test. However, it does not always show past abnormalities related to seizure .
Anything that interrupts the normal connections between nerve cells in the brain can cause a seizure . This includes a high fever, high or low blood sugar, alcohol or drug withdrawal, or a brain concussion. But when a person has 2 or more seizures with no known cause , this is diagnosed as epilepsy .
Reduction in life expectancy can be up to 2 years for people with a diagnosis of idiopathic/cryptogenic epilepsy , and the reduction can be up to 10 years in people with symptomatic epilepsy . Reductions in life expectancy are highest at the time of diagnosis and diminish with time.
First Aid Keep other people out of the way. Clear hard or sharp objects away from the person . Don’t try to hold them down or stop the movements. Place them on their side, to help keep their airway clear. Look at your watch at the start of the seizure , to time its length. Don’t put anything in their mouth.
Other factors that can affect your overall prognosis include: Age : Adults over the age of 60 may experience an increased risk for epileptic seizures , as well as related complications.
During the middle stages of Alzheimer’s , it becomes necessary to provide 24 – hour supervision to keep the person with dementia safe. As the disease progresses into the late-stages, around-the-clock care requirements become more intensive.
Sleeping more and more is a common feature of later- stage dementia . As the disease progresses, the damage to a person’s brain becomes more extensive and they gradually become weaker and frailer over time .
Symptoms of vascular dementia are similar to Alzheimer’s disease, although memory loss may not be as obvious in the early stages. Symptoms can sometimes develop suddenly and quickly get worse , but they can also develop gradually over many months or years.