Alzheimer’s Disease and Seizures Seizures can be caused by Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease, apart from seizures can cause dementia. Actually, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. Dementia is featured by cognitive impairment where memory loss and mood changes are the most prominent symptoms. Due to memory problems, dementia also affects relationships and everyday activities. Dementia is typically a disease of elderly population and it is estimated that between 4% and 12% of people over 65 years of age are affected by some form of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease gradually develops while a protein called beta amyloid builds up in the brain forming a plaque. This plaque causes neuron death responsible for deterioration of cognitive and motor function. This also increases the risk of seizures. Alzheimer’s disease is associated with partial complex seizures and generalized tonic-clonic seizures. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease who experience seizures are commonly treated with antiepileptic medications.
What are Seizures?
According to a definition, seizures are sudden behavioral changes in a person or in an animal due to brain malfunctioning. Seizures can affect any age group although they are most frequently seen in infants below the age of 2 and elderly people aged over 60. There are two types of seizures, namely generalized seizures and partial seizures.
Generalized SeizuresGeneralized seizures affect both hemispheres of the brain. There are four types of generalized seizures. Atonic Seizure – this type of seizure causes sudden loss of muscle tone due to a brief malfunctioning of the brain.Absence Seizure – this type is marked by sudden interruption of consciousness.Myoclonic Seizures – refers to rapid contractions of body muscles on both sides of the body simultaneously.Tonic Clonic Seizures – the most common type of generalized seizures that include two phases. Tonic stage causes decreased breathing and general body rigidity. This is followed by clonic phase in which rhythmic muscle contractions take place. Partial Seizures
Partial seizures are caused by electrical disturbances in a specific area of the brain. They are most commonly seen in people suffering from epilepsy. Partial seizures occur from unknown reasons although scientists believe a tumor, brain infection or head injury may cause them.
Causes of SeizuresThere are a number of causes of seizures. They are most commonly the result of aging, because physical ability and the control over bodily movements gradually decrease after the age of 65. Severe head injury can also cause seizures. Subarachnoid hemorrhage causes bleeding in the brain and may result in seizures. Certain diseases are also associated with seizures. They include: meningitis, renal failure, brain tumors, rabies, syphilis, meningitis and toxoplasmosis. Abrupt withdrawal after heavy use of alcohol, tobacco or sedatives can result in seizures as well. Also, metabolic disorders can occur due to metabolic disorders such as hypomagnesemia, hypoglycemia, hepatic encephalopathy and underactive parathyroid gland.