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Seniors and Epilepsy

Armen Hareyan's picture

(NC) - Mrs. Gordon had just celebrated her 68th birthday when it happened. Her daughter noticed that she was staring blankly, straight ahead. Her mouth was moving and she was tapping her hand on the table.

"Mother! What's wrong?" her daughter cried. But Mrs. Gordon just looked straight ahead. It lasted about two minutes. Then she sighed, rubbed her forehead, and looked at her daughter. "I feel strange," she said. "I don't know what happened just now. What was I saying?"

When people in their sixties experience unusual feelings - lost time, suspended awareness, confusion, seizures - they may think their symptoms are caused by some of the physical or mental problems that sometimes accompany aging.

But there may be another explanation for what is happening: they may have become one of the growing number of Canadians senior citizens with epilepsy.

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For a long time epilepsy has been seen as a condition that affects young people, often starting in early childhood and sometimes lasting throughout life.

But now we know it can affect anyone at any age. In fact, a careful look at the statistics shows us that it's as likely to begin in one's sixties, seventies, and eighties, as it is during the first ten years of life. Having epilepsy at any time of life takes some getting used to. People want to find out about the disorder, how it's treated, and what kind of changes it may make in our lives. Last year, thanks to the support from donors across the country, Epilepsy Canada contributed to identifying a gene responsible for the most severe form of adolescent epilepsy called Lafora disease. For more information about epilepsy contact: Epilepsy Canada at 1-877-SEIZURE (734-0873), or www.epilepsy.ca


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