My 81 year old Mom was diagnosed with AD about 3 years ago. Her memory is about nonexsistent. She has myclonic jerking on her right side. She is ambulatory, but needs help changing clothes, bathing, eating with utensils,etc.
Other than falling more often than normal, she has shown no other symptoms.
Yesterday, after her bath, Mom apparently had a seizure. Dad said she had jerking motions, stiffened up, vomitted, and then went unconscious for 10-15 minutes. She was admitted to the ER and they did blood and urine tests and a CAT scan. Everything came back fine.
We are trying to figure out if seizures are a part of AD. The Dr at the ER hedged the question and said that it could be part of any dementia, since the brain cells are dying off.
This is not one of the symptoms that I am familiar with in my 3 years of reading about the stages of AD. Has anyone had a LO with AD who has also experienced seizures? If so, in what stage of the disease did it first manifest itself?
The anti-seizure meds they gave her at the hospital have made her very confused and disoriented, more so than normal. I hate to see her cognitive skills get even worse than they are, and now due to medicine.
It is my understanding that a small percentage of AD patients can have seizures, perhaps only 10%, but there may be other causes in certain individuals, so it is best to check it out with his physician. Or you can go to your search engine, type in 'Alzheimers + seizures' and see what comes up there. Take care.
Thanks for your response. I checked the internet and the info I found generally referred to AD patients seizing in the late stages. (and the 10% figure is also what I have heard).
Mom is not in the late stages. So I was wondering if it was AD related or not. The ER doc said you find seizures in any type of dementia patient, but never said if he thought this was the case with Mom.
We haven't gotten an appt yet with her neurologist. We will in a few days though, because she'll need her Dilantin levels checked. I am hoping he can give us more information.
I *would* like to talk to someone who has been through this. I guess misery loves company.
I suggest up get her to a Neurologist.The sooner the better.Do you have Power of attorney? If you don't get it while she can still sign her name.........That's the first thing I did after being DX with AD.We have to be able to sign the papers.......
I went thru this with my mom, and it scared the heck out of me. But, then again she was diagnosed in the "Last" stages of this disease when she had the sezures.
The doctors were not any help and they didn't even take the time or energy to prescribe something. They didn't even want her in the hospital. The "On-call" doctor said, "What do you think the hospital can do for her that you can't do at home?". My mom's sezures were almost like strokes. Thank heavens that they didn't last long. Just a few hours. I always assumed that the sezure type stuff that she went through was the "Parkinson's". She presumably had both. And, I understand that this is common. She did have problems with her left hand "curling" or "clawing" up. I got a metal splint for a nursing supply company and wrapped her hand with an ace bandgage to keep the splint on. But, the few times she did throw the sezures, it did frighten me so. But, she always did pull out of it a few hours later, none the worse for ware.
I would suggest that if you are lucky enough to have a doctor that cares enough to actually prescribe medication for this, that you would ask what the minimum dosage is and start there. Then only raise the dosage as she can tolerate it. (Keep careful records and notes).
Maybe this will help. I know that the sezures are scary, but I don't think that they do any real damage. Just take notes and let your doctor know everything so that he can keep her medications regulated properly to keep her as "good" as possiable. (Also, does she have a heart specilist? Have her heart, and blood circulation checked and her cholestoral, next time you are in the doctors office. Oh, and have her checked for MRI's. There is medication for this, preventitive medications. If she is throwing MRI's, then you need to have her on Aspirin therapy or cumidin.)
Hope this helps.
PS: Oh, and have her potassium checked also. And also, mention to the doctor that you want her checked out for congestive heart failure. My mom also had that and she was never diagnosed or treated for it. There are good medications out there for congestive heart failure, and they can buy a lot of time, (if you can get a diagnosis in the first place). Both my mom and a friend of mine died from congestive heart failure and both had sezures in the last year of their life. (Just a thought). Again, I hope this helps,
[This message has been edited by gizmolove (edited 05-08-2003).]
Thank you all for your responses. It helps to know that others have "been there".
A lot has happen since that post.
April 1st was the seizure that sent Mom to the ER.
April 4th we went to the neurologist because Mom was not tolerating the antiseizure meds...vomiting, pretty much bed ridden, dizzy, etc.
The Dr. put Mom in the hospital for "tests" that afternoon.
April 5th Dad went to the hospital (in the next county where he lives, Mom was in the hospital near me) with congestive heart failure and had a triple by pass on Monday the 7th. That same day Mom finished up her tests...none of which showed any abnormal signs that couldn't be explained by the AD. They did Everything...EEG, MRI, urinalysis, TONS of blood work, lumbar puncture. Poor little thing, I felt so bad for her!!!
April 10th we lucked up and found Mom a spot in the Atria dementia unit.(A truly wonderful place with a fabulous and caring staff. I can't say enough good things about this place!!! They had ONE room available. She had a seizure as soon as we got there. She was put on neurontin and with some help from phenirgin managed to get used to the drug with out throwing up too much.
The Neurontin has really helped the seizures and the myclonic jerks she has on her right side. She went through some rough times the first week or so, but seems to have settled in and is doing quite well.
Last week we were able (lucky again) to get Dad in the same facility but in the assisted living unit. He is doing amazingly well for an 86 yr old man who just recently had triple by pass.
Mom and Dad get to see each other all the time, her jerks and seizures are lessening and things seem to be settling down.
Thanks again for your words of wisdom and encouragement...I've really needed them this past month.
SnowyLynne- You said a mouthful!! The whole month was sort of like that. I am not a particularly religious person, but it felt like someone was sitting on my shoulder the whole time.
There was one time when Mom was having her lumbar puncture. The Dr. tried twice while Mom was lying down to find spinal fluid with no luck. He sat her up as a last resort and had her leaning on me. I could see him insert the needle and try 2 or 3 times to get a flow started and I watched as he shook his head indicating no flow of spinal fluid here either!
Without thinking about I said to myself "Please let him get some spinal fluid" Immediately the Dr smiled and said "we did it." I know I didn't do it but someone heard me.
Things like that have been happening all month. I think "someone" wanted both my Mom and Dad to be at that facility. It wasn't any "good planning" on my part for sure.
I am so greatful that it has all worked out like this. and greatful to all of you for being here to talk to.