Everything You Need to Know about Lewy Body Dementia

  |     |   Health & Wellness, Senior Living

There are several different types of Dementia, with one of the most common forms being Lewy Body Dementia, also referred to as LBD. This type of Dementia happens to over 1 Million people in the United States alone. There are many common factors between LBD and other types of Dementia, but it also has its unique symptoms and traits that can manifest. 

Hearing a Lewy Body Dementia diagnosis can be difficult for the individual with the disease and their loved ones, but one of the first important steps is to get educated on the condition. Continue reading below to learn all about Lewy Body Dementia and its effects on those afflicted with it. 

The Early Lewy Body Dementia Symptoms

Several of the early Lewy Body Dementia symptoms can mimic other diseases and conditions, which when coupled with it already being different from other types of dementia, can make it difficult to diagnose early on. Some of the symptoms in the early stage of LBD manifest as:

  • Cognitive Difficulties – Those afflicted with LBD may experience a lot of cognitive fluctuations early on, including difficulty concentrating, feeling very tired despite good sleep, and alertness changes. 

  • Lewy Body Hallucinations – Lewy Body Dementia greatly differs from Alzheimer's in that it can cause reality distortions or hallucinations. These are usually visual and not auditory. 

  • Movement Changes – Changes in movement can be another common early sign of LBD. These changes include balance issues, coordination difficulties, or handwriting changes. This can be a difficult sign to recognize, as it may be associated with Parkinson’s disease or some other condition. 

  • Sleep Troubles – Certain sleep difficulties can be a sign of LBD, with these including insomnia, vivid dreaming, daytime drowsiness, sleepwalking or talking, as well as restless leg syndrome when in conjunction with other sleep difficulties. 

  • Behavior Changes – Behavior changes can come along with LBD as well, as it can cause changes in the nervous system. If new developments of anxiety, paranoia, depression or other similar conditions have happened, the individual should see their doctor. 

How Lewy Body Dementia Comes About

Lewy Body Dementia happens as a result of built-up masses of proteins in the brain called Lew Bodys. This in turn can cause chemical changes in the brain, leading to issues with thinking, movement, behavior, and more. It is a progressive disease that typically shows up at ages 50 and later, but there are instances of younger people being afflicted with LBD. There are said to be 7 Stages of Lewy Body Dementia, which are:

  1. Normal – No symptoms other than maybe daytime sleeping with hallucinations or mood fluctuations. 

  2. Mild Symptoms – Hard to notice symptoms such as mild forgetfulness. Can still function with normal life. 

  3. Slight Symptom Worsening – This stage is still mild, but may include further symptoms including memory loss, fall risk, difficulty concentrating, and starting to have difficulties in normal life. 

  4. Symptoms Noticeable – At this stage, many patients will likely have a diagnosis of LBD and experience noticeable symptoms such as tremors, choking, difficulty swallowing and severe forgetfulness. They will require supervision and cannot perform their normal daily activities. 

  5. Severe Symptoms – Patients will experience heavy memory loss, possible fever, confusion, disorientation, Lewy Body hallucinations and need assistance in virtually all activities. 

  6. Further Severity – Incontinence, cannot speak, need round-the-clock support and will have difficulty recognizing loved ones. 

  7. Very Severe – Limited communication, low physical ability and will constantly need support. 

Treatment for LBD

There is no cure for LBD, but it can be managed with several medications and changes. Some steps can be taken to potentially slow the disease’s progression. 

Looking for Care for a Loved One with LBD?

If you are seeking proper care for a loved one with LBD, Symphony Senior Living is here to help. We have several facilities where your loved one will be able to receive the care and support that they need through LBD. If you have any questions, give us a call at (437) 214-1608.

 

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