Information on Lewy Body Dementia
Lewy body dementia (LBD) is a progressive brain illness. In Lewy body dementia, abnormal round structures called Lewy bodies develop in regions of your brain involved in thinking and movement. Lewy bodies also develop in people with Parkinson's disease but only in one part of the brain. Lewy body dementia is a relatively common dementia. It usually affects people over 65 and affects more men than women. Lewy bodies appear in deteriorating nerve cells and are frequently found in damaged regions deep within the brains of persons with Parkinson's disease.
When lewy bodies exist in other areas of the brain, such as in the cortex, a dementia syndrome arises with symptoms alike to those of Alzheimer's disease. Lewy body dementia is caused by abnormal microscopic deposits of protein in nerve cells, called lewy bodies, which destroy the cells over time. These deposits can cause symptoms typical of Parkinson disease, such as tremor and muscle rigidity, as well as dementia similar to that of Alzheimer disease. Lewy body dementia is more likely, however, to affect thinking, attention, and concentration than memory and language.
Lewy body dementia contributes to characteristics with both Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia. It may also cause characteristic physical signs typical of Parkinson's rigid muscles, slowed progress and tremors. Lewy body dementia can also reason hallucinations. If a family member has the disease, there may be an increased risk of developing the disease. Lewy body Dementia is more common in men than in women. Symptoms of dementia with Lewy bodies including stiffness, shuffling walk, shakiness, lack of facial expression, and problems with balance and falls.
Memory problems, poor judgment, confusion and other cognitive symptoms that overlap with Alzheimer’s disease. Visual hallucinations, such as seeing colors, shapes, animals or people, may be one of the first symptoms of Lewy body dementia. Cognitive symptoms and stage of alertness may get better or worse (fluctuate) during the day or from one day to another. Generally, treatment of Lewy body dementia is the same as that of all dementias. Cholinesterase inhibitors are medications used in treating Alzheimer's disease. They can improve alertness and cognition in some people and may reduce hallucinations and other distressing symptoms.
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Written by: Juliet Cohen