HJAR Mar/Apr 2020

42 MAR / APR 2020 I  HEALTHCARE JOURNAL OF ARKANSAS COLUMN NEUROLOGY WHEN an adult experiences a seizure, it must be treated as an emergency. It is often the first manifestation of a larger problem. All adults, including family members and healthcare providers, need to recognize the wide range of seizure symptoms for what they are, in order to quickly address the greater health threat. Recognizing Less Common Signs of Seizures While epilepsy can lead to the typical con- vulsions, in which the entire brain experi- ences a seizure causing the body to stiffen with powerful jerking muscle movements, non-convulsive seizures can be triggered by a wide range of causes, and do not necessar- ily present the same convulsive symptoms. Depending on the area of the brain impacted, and the cause of the seizure, symptoms can appear quite different. For instance, someone may experience vi- sual seizures; they begin to see lights, some- times referred to as an “aura,”or other visual changes. When a seizure impacts the area of the brain associated with speech, it could result in slurred speech, drooling, or difficulty finding the right words. In other instances, a patient may complain of a bad smell that only they can sense, or experience a profound sense of dejavu. All of these instances suggest a different part of the brain being impacted, and provide valuable clues to healthcare pro- fessionals when accurately reported. Akey challenge we face is that even when someone recognizes the danger and seeks medical care, these symptoms can frequently dissipate by the time they reach an emer- gency room. In some cases, the patients themselves may be left unaware of the ex- perience associated with the seizure, and feel confused when others try to explain their IDENTIFYING ADULT SEIZURES as Symptoms of Greater Threats Many people possess preconceived notions of what a seizure is, looks like, or is caused by, that could potentially lead them to overlook serious underlying conditions. Often, that perception relates to the convulsive seizures associated with epilepsy, and frequently seen in children. Seizures in adults can differ greatly in both their presentation and causes.