Can Seizures Cause Walking Problems in Seniors?

Last Updated: 17.09.19

 

Seizures are of different types and can lead to all sorts of symptoms, which means that some of them trigger walking problems while others don’t. If you’re concerned about your senior’s health if seizures occur, this post might be of help, so check it out to learn more about this health condition and what to do about it.

What are seizures?

Seizures can be shortly described as electrical disturbances that take part in various parts of the brain. Since a seizure can affect only a certain part of it, the symptoms may differ significantly from one type of seizure to another.

That’s why identifying the type of seizure occurring gains great importance as it will help the carer provide the appropriate help. Seizures are divided into two main categories, that is, focal and generalized seizures. Each category includes various other types.

 

Focal seizures

Focal seizures affect a certain part of the brain and are named based on the part that is being affected. Such seizures cause emotional and physical effects and make a person hear or see things that are not there. This type of seizure occurs in more than half of people with epilepsy and its symptoms can easily be mistaken for a nerve disorder or mental illness.

Focal seizures can be simple or complex. There is even a third type of focal seizure called secondary generalized seizure. Simple focal seizures lead to altered emotions, uncontrolled shaking, and changes in the way things smell, taste, or look. When such seizures occur, the person affected stays fully conscious but might feel nauseated or sweaty.

Complex focal seizures, on the other hand, affect the part of the brain that controls memory and brain and they affect consciousness. However, the person suffering from such a seizure may still look like being awake. The patient may even chew, cry, mumble, or repeat an action, and usually needs a few minutes to come out of it.

Secondary generalized seizures occur in one part of the brain yet spread to the other side of it and cause muscle slackness, convulsions, and other physical symptoms caused by generalized seizures.

 

Generalized seizures

This type of seizure affects both sides of a brain and they include physical and sensory symptoms. Classifying them and identifying the type of seizure occurring may be a bit difficult since generalized seizures can start as one type and transform into another.

This category includes six types. Tonic-clonic seizures cause some of the most noticeable signs including unconsciousness, shaking, loss of bowel and bladder control, and body stiffness. Such a seizure usually lasts 1-3 minutes yet if your senior’s seizure goes on longer, you should call 911.

Clonic seizures cause muscles spasms and usually last several minutes. Tonic seizures make the arm, leg, and trunk muscles tense up. They last no longer than 20 seconds and frequently occur while the person having it is asleep. However, they may occur while awake and thus lead to loss of balance and falling.

Atonic seizures will make the muscles limp all of a sudden and the head lean forward. The person having this type of seizure may fall or drop the things he/she is holding.

This category also includes the so-called myoclonic seizures that can make the muscles suddenly jerk and the absence seizures that will make a person unresponsive and somehow disconnected from the people around him/her.

The person having an absence seizure may stare into space or have his/her eyes rolled back into the head. Such seizures last only a few seconds.

How to approach seizures

The information provided above is meant to give you an idea of what seizures can cause and what signs you should pay attention to in case your senior has one. However, to know exactly what you’re dealing with, you should see a doctor. Such signs are common to various disorders and seizures may be a symptom of a health condition such as epilepsy.

That’s why they should be treated with utmost seriousness. Your senior must be correctly diagnosed and prescribed the right medication in order to manage these seizures and know what to expect when they occur. Yes, you can look for general information online yet a doctor will help you find out what happens to your senior more precisely.

 

How to help a senior with frequent seizures

Once you’ve seen a doctor and learned more about your senior’s condition, you will also know what to do when seizures occur. In some cases, the seizures will pass without any intervention whereas some seizures that last more than they normally should require professional assistance.

Make sure to ask your senior’s doctor about this so you can know precisely what to do. Still, there are some general guidelines regarding the safety measures you need to take as a caregiver.

If your senior has been diagnosed with epilepsy or with a condition that involves seizures, make sure the house he/she lives in is designed to prevent accidents that could result in injuries and thus provide a safe environment. Since a seizure can occur anywhere at any time, it is best to take care of such things beforehand.

Remove sharp and hard objects from the rooms in which your senior lives and clear such items from the area where the senior is having a seizure as people suffering a seizure may have uncontrolled movements and thus can hurt themselves.

When it comes to a generalized tonic-clonic seizure, for example, it is recommended not to try to stop the patient’s movements. You should try to place the patient on his/her side in order to keep the airway clear. Time the length of the seizure to notice patterns and if it lasts longer than usual, call 911.

If your senior’s doctor has prescribed any medication, make sure he/she takes it. Some seizures will cause loss of balance, muscle spasms, body stiffness, and, thus walking problems, therefore, providing a permanent carer or the needed self-aid devices is recommended.

 

 

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