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Lewy body dementia

Definition


Disease: Lewy body dementia Lewy body dementia
Category: Dermatological diseases

Disease Definition:

Characteristics of both Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease are found in Lewy body dementia. This condition causes confusion just like Alzheimer's, and it also causes rigid muscles, slowed movement and tremors just like Parkinson's disease.

 

One of the first signs of the disorder is visual hallucination, which is also the most striking symptom of Lewy body dementia. These hallucinations could vary from abstract shapes or colors to conversations with deceased loved ones.

 

Even thought the risk of Lewy body dementia increases with age, however, it is estimated to affect less than 1% of people over the age of 65. In this condition, abnormal round structures that are called Lewy bodies will develop in the regions of the brain that are involved in thinking and movement.
 

Work Group:


Symptoms, Causes

Symptoms:

Some of the signs and symptoms of Lewy body dementia may be:

Visual hallucinations:

One of the first symptoms of Lewy body dementia may be seeing colors, shapes, animals or people.

Delusions:

These could be false ideas about another person or situation.

Movement disorders:

A person may experience slowed movements, rigid muscles, tremors or a shuffling walk. These are signs and symptoms that are also found in Parkinson's disease.

Sleep difficulties:

Someone could physically act out their dreams while they’re asleep due to a sleep disorder.

Cognitive problems:

A person may experience confusion, memory loss and reduced attention spans. These are signs and symptoms that are also found in Alzheimer's disease.
 

Causes:

The exact cause of this condition is still not clear, however, some factors indicate that it could be related to Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease, such as:

 

People who have Lewy bodies in their brains usually also have the plaques and tangles that are associated with Alzheimer's disease.
Lewy bodies contain a protein that is associated with Parkinson's disease.
People who have Parkinson's and other rare dementias, usually also have Lewy bodies in their brains.

 

It has been suggested that there's a Lewy body variant of Alzheimer's disease. Conversely, Lewy body dementia and Alzheimer's could coexist in some people.

 

There are several factors that could increase someone’s risk of developing Lewy body dementia, such as:

 

  • Age: Lewy body dementia usually occurs in people older than 60.
  • Sex: This disorder seems to be more common in men.
  • Heredity: A person may have an increased risk of Lewy body dementia in case a member of their family has it.
     

Complications

Complications:

Severe dementia is caused by Lewy body dementia after the onset of the disease. Over time, the Parkinson's-like features and visual hallucinations tend to get worse. Average survival is about eight years after symptoms begin.
 

Treatments:

Lewy body dementia has no cure and its treatment could be challenging. Because of this, individual symptoms are usually treated.

 

MEDICATIONS:

Parkinson's disease medications:

In some people with Lewy body dementia, these medications help reduce the Parkinson's-like muscular symptoms. However, they could cause increased confusion, delusions and hallucination.

Cholinesterase inhibitors:

The levels of neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers believed to be important for memory, thought and judgment, are increased in the brain by these Alzheimer's disease medications. Alertness and cognition could be improved by this, and hallucinations and other behavioral problems reduced.

Antipsychotic medications:

Delusions and hallucinations could be somewhat improved with these medications. However, about a third of the people who have Lewy body dementia have a dangerous sensitivity to some of these medications. Severe Parkinson's-like symptoms and a worsening confusion could be some of the reactions, which could sometimes be irreversible.

 

THERAPIES:

It will be best to initially try nondrug approaches, because antipsychotic drugs could worsen the symptoms of this disease. Some of those approaches may be:

Modifying the response:

It's best to avoid correcting and quizzing a person with dementia, because a caregiver's response to a behavior could make that behavior worse. Most situations could be defused by reassuring the person and validating his/her concerns.

Modifying the environment:

Focusing and functioning could be easier for someone with dementia in case clutter and distracting noise is reduced.

Modifying tasks:

Structure and routine could help people with dementia feel safe. Caregivers could also break tasks into easier steps and focus on success, not failure.
 

Prognosis:

Not available

Expert's opinion

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