HJAR Mar/Apr 2020

HEALTHCARE JOURNAL OF ARKANSAS I  MAR / APR 2020 43 behavior. This is when a patient’s support system proves critical, helping the patient document the symptoms of a seizure so doc- tors can better diagnose the real cause. Understanding Causes of Seizures in Adults Brain trauma (new or old), scar tissue, hemorrhages, aneurysms, brain bleeds, or even infections affecting the brain can all cause seizures in adults. Additionally, drug use or alcoholism can alter the environment of the brain over time in a way that causes serious injury with lasting implications. Even fever, stress, or sleep deprivation can con- tribute to a seizure, although this may not be the primary cause. The causes that lead to nonepileptic seizures vary widely, but the details of how the seizure presents outwardly can offer valuable clues to doctors. Ali Krisht, MD, FACS Director Arkansas Neuroscience Institute at CHI St. Vincent We find that brain tumors are also a fre- quent cause of adult seizures. In fact, 80 percent of brain tumors are located in areas that could trigger seizures, and even a benign (non-cancerous) tumor can lead to severe or frequent headaches, seizures, balance is- sues, and changes in speech or hearing. A tumor near the area of the brain responsible for vision can lead to the visual seizures and associated vision changes mentioned earlier. The same is true for seizures that present as bad smells. While these are clear clues, they can also prove misleading. For example, a tumor in one part of the brain can cause weakness in the arms, and a feeling of heavy hands, easily misdiagnosed by family members as a stroke. That is why it is important to seek immediate medical help, and provide healthcare professionals with as much additional information as possible so they can work tomake an accurate diagnosis. “When an adult experiences a seizure, it must be treated as an emergency. It is often the first manifestation of a larger problem.” ” Treating the Root Causes of Adult Seizures Unlike seizures in children, where epi- leptic incidences cause the seizures, and are difficult to control, seizures in adults can be more easily managed with proper treatment. Patients can even become seizure free. Aneu- rysms, tumors, and other similar causes can be addressed with neurosurgery, as methods have been perfected to safely perform sur- gery in some of the most difficult to reach areas of the brain. Advancements in treatment today mean adults suffering nonepileptic seizures have more opportunity than ever before to con- tinue living a full, vibrant life. However, they will need the full support of friends, families, and healthcare providers to ensure that any seizures are quickly identified, and proper care is received. n