What is Lewy Body Dementia?
Lewy body dementia, or LBD, is the 2nd most common form of degenerative dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. Protein deposits, defined as Lewy bodies, develop in nerve cells in areas of the brain associated to thinking, memory, and motor control (movement).
Lewy body dementia causes a gradual regression in mental facilities. Those with LBD may hallucinate visually and shifts in attention and awareness. Other issues include Parkinson’s disease like signs and symptoms like stiff muscles, slower movement, challenges walking and shaking.
LBD signs and symptoms may include:
- Hallucinating visually. Hallucinations — believe you see things that are not there — might be one of the first symptoms, and they usually happen again. Those with LBD may have hallucinations of shapes, animals, or even people. Sounds, smells, or touch hallucinations are possible.
- Movement disorders. Parkinson’s disease signs (parkinsonian signs), like slowed movement, stiff muscles, shaking or a lumbering walk may happen. This could lead to falling.
- Poor control of body functions. Blood pressure, pulse, sweats, and the digestive process are controlled by a part of the nervous system that is usually impacted by Lewy body dementia. This could result in abrupt drops in blood pressure when standing up, lightheadedness, falls, bladder control loss and bowel troubles, like constipation.
- Cognitive issues. You might have thinking issues comparable to those of Alzheimer’s disease, like confusion, low attention, visual-spatial issues, and memory loss.
- Difficulty sleeping. You could have rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder, in which can make you physically act out your dreams while sleeping. This might involve conduct like hitting, kicking, shouting, and screaming when you’re asleep.
- Inconstant attention. Cases of drowsiness, extended periods staring blankly, long naps throughout the day or jumbled speech are likely.
- Depression. You could develop depression.
- Lethargy. You could lose motivation.
LBD is characterized by the anomalous build-up of proteins into masses referred to as Lewy bodies. These proteins are also related with Parkinson’s disease. Those that have Lewy bodies in their brains also have the amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles related with Alzheimer’s disease.
A few determinants seem to heighten the risk of becoming infected with Lewy body dementia, including:
- Age. Individuals over the age of 60 are at a higher risk.
- Gender. Lewy body dementia impacts more men than women.
- Family history. Individuals that have a relative with Lewy body dementia or Parkinson’s disease are at a higher risk.
Lewy body dementia is gradual. Signs and symptoms worsen, with the cause of:
- Extreme dementia
- Aggressive conduct
- Heightened risk of falling and injury
- Worsening of Parkinson’s disease signs and symptoms, like the shakes
- Death, on average about 7 to 8 years after symptoms begin
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