1. katherine

    katherine Registered User

    Sep 5, 2006
    My mum had a seizure today. She's now 60 and was diagnosed with alzheimers 4 years ago. It was very frightening. Does anyone know if there can be a link between alzheimers and fits? It's the first time this has happened....
  2. Áine

    Áine Registered User

    hello Katherine. it sounds a very frightening experience. so sorry you and your mum are going through this.

    i've no personal experience with seizures but it looks as though there is some connection:

    this is an except from http://www.aafp.org/afp/20030115/325.html which is entitled "seizure disorders in the elderly"

    "Of the degenerative disorders, Alzheimer's dementia and amyloid angiopathy are known major causes of seizures.11 Advanced Alzheimer's disease has been identified as a risk factor for new-onset generalized tonic-clonic seizures in older adults.12 It is associated with a 10 percent prevalence of seizures, particularly late in the illness.11 An increased prevalence of seizures also has been documented with other types of dementia.11"
  3. dmc

    dmc Registered User

    Mar 13, 2006
    hi katherine

    dont have much knowledge on seizures but i know there has been other threads on this subject if you type seizures in the search box in the dark purple line above you might get some answers
    take care x
  4. Glad

    Glad Registered User

    Jan 13, 2007
    Hi Katherine
    My mother has just come out of hospital following a problem that seems to be seizure related. She has been prescribed sodium valproate, which is a drug used for people with epilepsy. Previously she was on Aricept and anti-depressants (sorry, I don't know the name of the anti-depressants as my Dad is her primary carer) and she had no history of seizures before that. I don't have any answers, I'm afraid, as she is still having these "fits" at home. Social services were supposed to come and write a statement of needs to help Dad at home with her as she is very seriously ill now, but they say they have a very long waiting list. I wish I could give you some advice, but I can't even find anything very much about it on the internet. My thoughts are with you, anyway.
    Very Best Wishes
  5. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    Hi Katherine

    Jan has had seizures for some time now. Her diagnosis, originally of Alzheimer's, has been amended to be a mixture of Alzheimer's and Vascular Dementia.

    The fits don't happen very often but the staff at her home have a procedure they implement at once, when one happens, and that seems to work. For speed of action, they use a suppository of some sort.
  6. noelphobic

    noelphobic Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    My mum is on Epilon (sp?) and has had several seizures over the last few years. However, they are infrequent. Just because your mum has had one doesn't necessarily mean they wil be a frequent occurrence. Her notes at the nursing home now state that she has epilepsy but I think the seizures are more likely to be connected to her dementia as they never happened prior to it.
  7. willowsue

    willowsue Registered User

    Jan 26, 2007
    seizures and dementia

    My mum is 63 and has had Alz. for 12 years recently we have had lots of problems and she has had to go in to a care home as my dad can't manage any more. She has been in hospital for the last five weeks and has had to be given a peg to be fed with as she has problems swallowing - last week was horrendous she had five fits in one night. This was treated with rectal diazapam and when this didn't work she was given a rapid infusion of very strong drugs to stop the fitting. She was out of it for a few days but has slowly come round again. This is a terrible illness and not knowing what can happen next is causing my family a great deal of stress.
  8. alex

    alex Registered User

    Apr 10, 2006
    Hiya Kathrine

    My partner suffered from seizures before he died 7 months ago..............infact the seizures lead to his death (breathed in fluid whilst fitting..........leading to pneumonia)
    I was told at the time by the consultants that seizures were common in people suffering from vascular dementia.

    My only advice would be to not take the seizures too lightly. We were told it was nothing to worry about, yet at 53 it lead to his death.

    Love Alex x
  9. katherine

    katherine Registered User

    Sep 5, 2006

    Thankyou for all your replies....mum's been well today thank god...but your replies are useful. At the hospital they said they thought there was no connection between fits and alzheimers, but from your responses it would seem that there probably is. I'll talk to mum's consultant about it and also about Vascular dementia. And i'm sorry for all of your experiences of this. It's awful isn't it...I wish you all the best truly ...
  10. KenC

    KenC Registered User

    Mar 24, 2006
    Co Durham
    Hi all,

    Many years ago in 1985 I was ill with what the Consultant said was absence siezures.
    In 2003 when it was obvious that I was ill again, I was sent for Xrays scans and tests only to be told that I had Dementia with Lewy Bodies and there was no way that I had had epilepsy in the past. I try in my own mind to work this out and I can not, either I had it or it was this illness starting off all those years ago. No one seems to have the answer.

    Best Wishes

  11. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004
    Ken, don't know if your insight into your illness is a positive thing for you , but I wonder if you realise how many of us you help with your explanations.

    Thank you for continuing to share with us in this way. Love,
  12. Lonestray

    Lonestray Registered User

    Aug 3, 2006

    I took my wife to the Stroke Clinic having been refered there after her EEG. The Consultant's opinion of the EEG result, was the seizures were probably due to epilepsy and suggested the Stroke Clinic might advice on medication or treatment for when fit/seizures occur.

    The fits/seizures took place in April, Sep and Nov '06. Asked to discribe when and what form they took, I explained the first was the most frightening. I'd woke her up, and although she can't move she tried to raise herself, her eyes showed fright and great fear, then her body started to convulse, shaking all over. Each other time she was asleep when they occured but were less violent.

    He tapped her knees and arms but got no reaction, then tried to get her eyes to follow his hand, she just stared. During the hour's interview/test she drifted off to sleep. He questioned my daily routine: the food I fed her, how long I had cared for her and why I had chosen to do it alone as wrote down.

    Asked what I thought what brought the fits on, I explained it was my belief she was having a frightening bad dream of past experience. He agreed I may be right, as they happened so infrequinent and suggested a daily dose of Junior Aspirin to thin the blood to the brain. He remarked how well she looked in spite of her lack of movement or speech. I've held off on the Aspirin for now. When waking her, I now always reassure her she's safe as I hold her in my arms.
    Good luck and God bless. Padraig
  13. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    While there may not be a connection between AD and seizures, the problem is that there is no way to to be certain (bar autopsy) that AD is the only thing someone may be suffering from. In fact, it seems to be SOP that if someone has a symptom that is not "classic" AD the diagnosis changes to mixed AD and vascular dementia. From a practical point of view this may make no difference to the appropriate care, but unfortunately does lead to the perpetuation of the perhaps erroneous belief that AD doesn't cause seizures.

    You may have to be pushy about treatment for this: my mother almost died from a grand mal seizure, and they were unwilling to put her on anti-epilepsy medication until I and the carer who was talking to her at the onset of the seizure pointed this fact out: general practice is to wait until there have been a minimum of 3 episodes. Thankfully, there has not been a recurrance, or at least not one that has been seen.

  14. noelphobic

    noelphobic Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    My mother is on anti epilepsy medication but unfortunately does still have seizures sometimes. She has had 3 over the last 2 days and is not back to normal yet. Today she was behaving very aggressively which is most unlike her and was very distressing. The last time she had seizures was several weeks ago. It did not result in her becoming aggressive but did seem to leave her extremely listless for quite some time afterwards. She had just been starting to get back to 'normal' (as normal as someone in a fairly advanced stage of dementia can be!) when she had these recent fits :(

  15. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Yes, unfortunately it's not a sure fire "cure". Actually, I said seen because sometimes my mother has, like yours. a listless day(s), and we have speculated that there has been another seizure or perhaps a mini-stroke. However, it has kept away another major one since that produced a complete loss of bowel and bladder control (if she hadn't been with a carer she wouldn't have made it: she had to be resusitated). Does your mother have AD, vascular or mixed? According to what I have read, the seizures casued by stroke damage tend to show up 6-9 months after the actual stroke as the lesions heal, which was almost spot on with regard to mummy. It's entirely possible that she wouldn't have had any more seizures anyway, but I wasn't prepared to let them try out that theory. I haven't seen any sign of aggression. although as she's as weak as a kitten, they wouldn't be particularly obvious.

  16. noelphobic

    noelphobic Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    Hi Jennifer

    My mum's dementia has at various time been described as AD, LBD, Binswangers and vascular (although I believe at the time the latter was mentioned to us it was referred to as multi infarct). She also has Parkinsons disease and I believe there is a form of dementia related to Parkinsons. I don't suppose we'll ever know which type of dementia she has or indeed what combination of types.

    I am hoping that the current aggression will be short lived, as it would be very hard all round if it became a permanent fixture. I saw her this afterrnoon and one of the care assistants told me that her arms were covered in scratches inflicted by my mum! I have also noticed that she has been extremely jumpy over the last few days, so am presuming this is also an after effect of the seizures.

  17. sophie123

    sophie123 Registered User

    Feb 14, 2007
    Hi all,

    My mother moved into a nursing home last April, and since then has had 3 'fits', the last one leaving her with a split lip, black eye and loss of one of her front teeth. Unfortunately, the doctor explained that this can be a side effect of dementia, the other being mini-strokes - i think the odd seizure is better perhaps. She does have early-onset dementia from alcohol-related Alzheimers, do things may be different for other conditions. She is now on anti-convulsent oral medication (not sure of the name) but that seems to have calmed things down. Hope this helps.

  18. micksuehilton

    micksuehilton Registered User

    Feb 22, 2007
    East Sussex
    wife having seizures

    Hi, my wife diagnosed 5 years ago with posterior variant alz, now in advanced stage alz has had a seiries of seizures,( full tonic clonic, very scary), and no longer stands , walks, comunicates, is now prescribed liquid anti-epeleptic liquid sodium valproate. This has appeared to calm seizures so far (3 weekswithout fit), but has made her very tired and listless, making it very difficult to drink and feed.
    Its all very worrying, she was only 60 last week.
    One does not really know how to handle it, even the proffesionals do not have the answers.
  19. rue

    rue Registered User

    Nov 9, 2011
    Epiilepsy and the dementia`s

    Am very interested in the conection between seizures and any type of degenerative cognitive conditions. Anti epilepsey medications,cause potentialy severe side effects,which include memory and other cognitive problems. There are also over 40 different types of seizure, Clonic/Tonic[used to be called grand mal] to minor absence seizures, there are also `complex partial siezures` which can cause the individual to behave completly uncharicteristlcly,including verbal and physical aggression,after the seizure the individual will have no memory of the episode[they will not be incontinent]
    Epilepsy is exceptionaly complex. General practioner`s and nurses have limited[very]knowledge of the condition.Anyone who has had more then one siezure should be seen by a neurologist who specializes in the condition.Even if the individual has already been given a dementia diagnosis. The number of middle age + who are newly diagnosed with epilepsy is increasing. I would be interested to hear from people first given a diagnoses of epilepsy and then with a cognitive disorder. There is a relatively new type of seizure intervention, used as an alternative to diazapam suppositry.Called Buccal Midazolam.
    Hope this helps someone.
  20. Harriet66

    Harriet66 Registered User

    Mar 23, 2011
    Hi Katherine - I'm really sorry to hear about your mum - seizures can be terrifying.
    My husband had a major tonic clonic at the beginning of the year which landed him in hospital for 10 days with pneumonia. The worst thing from my point of view was the fear he showed when it first started - I've never seen anyone so terrified.
    He's been diagnosed with Binswangers and epilepsy and was prescribed Eplilim. He hasn't had a major seizure since but frequently will be 'absent' for minutes at a time. When he was still working and before he was diagnosed, I would often find him sitting vacantly staring into space, completely unaware of his surroundings. He also suffered 'fainting' fits for years before his diagnosis - always when recovering from an infection and when he hadn't eaten properly.

    I would definitely ask your consultant again about the connection between your mum's seizure and her dementia. Has he recommended any medication for her yet? I would second previous posts about not underestimating the seriousness of seizures.

    With best wishes for you both.

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