Symptoms of Lewy body dementia can fluctuate, but it usually becomes progressively worse over time.
During the early stages of the disease, the fluctuations between normal and abnormal behavior, mood, and cognitive ability may also occur. One of the central features of this disease is progressive dementia which is shown by a deficit in attention and some minor dysfunctions in the early stages that can progress to severe dementia.
In severe dementia, the individual becomes unable to carry out normal daily functions, losses recognition of family members, and some other severe cognitive, behavior and mood problems which are capable of rendering the individual virtually helpless. Other symptoms of Lewy body dementia include a fluctuation in cognition, visual hallucinations and some spontaneous features of Parkinsonism which include body stiffness, tremors, shuffling gait, emotionless facial features, and reduced coordination.
What Is Lewy Body Dementia?
Lewy body dementia, which is also known as dementia with Lewy bodies, is the second most common types of progressive dementia after Alzheimer’s disease dementia.
Lewy bodies also called protein deposits, develops in the nerve cells in the brain regions which is involved in thinking, memory and movement (motor control).
Lewy body dementia results in a progressive decline in mental abilities. People who suffer from Lewy body dementia may also experience visual hallucinations and changes in alertness and attention. Other symptoms of Lewy body dementia may include Parkinson’s disease-like symptoms such as rigid muscles, slow movement and also tremors.
Lewy body dementia is a progressive and degenerative disease of the brain caused by the presence of Lewy bodies which are abnormal proteins that disrupt communication among brain cells.
Causes Of Lewy Body Dementia
The causes of Lewy body dementia is not known. But this condition is related to an abnormal protein found in the brain, which is termed the alpha-synuclein which makes the Lewy bodies.
Lewy body dementia is characterized by an abnormal build-up of proteins into masses known as Lewy bodies. This protein is also known to be associated with Parkinson’s disease. People who have Lewy bodies in their brains are also likely to have the plaques and tangles associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Symptoms Of Lewy Body Dementia
Some symptoms of Lewy body dementia may include:
- Visual hallucinations.
- Fluctuations in cognition
- Body stiffness
- Shuffling gait
- Slowed movement
- Poor attention
- Excessive sweating
- Memory loss
- Visual-spatial problems
- Sleep difficulties (sleep behavior disorder)
- Episodes of drowsiness
- Long periods of staring into space
- Long naps during the day
- Disorganized speech
Risk Factors For Lewy Body Dementia
They are some factors which seem to increase the risk of developing Lewy body dementia, including:
- Being older than 60 years
- Being male
- Having any family member with Lewy body dementia or Parkinson’s disease
- According to some research work, depression is also associated with Lewy body dementia.
Complications Of Lewy Body Dementia
Lewy body dementia is progressive. The signs and symptoms of Lewy body dementia may likely worsen, causing:
- Severe dementia
- Aggressive behaviour
- An increased risk of falling and injury
- A likely-hood of Worsening parkinsonian symptoms, such as tremors
Diagnosis Of Lewy Body Dementia
Diagnosis of Lewy body dementia requires a progressive decline in your ability to think, and also two of the following:
- A fluctuation in alertness and thinking (cognitive) function
- Repeated visual hallucinations
- Parkinsonian symptoms
To read more on diagnosis of Lewy body dementia, click here
Treatment Of Lewy Body Dementia
Treatment of Lewy body dementia can be challenging, and there is no cure for Lewy body dementia. Doctors can also treat the individual symptoms.
Some Medications for Lewy body dementia include:
Presently there is no evidence that any medications can decrease the rate of Lewy body dementia cognitive decline. However, the following medications have been used often used in patients who have Lewy body dementia:
· Cholinesterase inhibitors. These medications, such as rivastigmine (Exelon), acts by increasing the levels of chemical messengers that are believed to be important for memory, thought, and judgment (neurotransmitters) in the brain. This helps to improve alertness and cognition, and may also help in reducing hallucinations and other behavioral problems.
· Parkinson’s disease medications. These medications include; carbidopa-levodopa (Sinemet) which may be helpful in reducing parkinsonian symptoms, such as rigid muscles and slow movement. These medications may also increase confusion, hallucinations, and delusions.
· Medications to treat other symptoms. Your doctor may also prescribe certain medications to treat other symptoms associated with Lewy body dementia, such as sleep or movement problems.
- second-generation antipsychotics,
- dopamine precursors
These medications help to control or reduce the symptoms of Lewy body dementia.
Unfortunately, Lewy body dementia is a progressive disease, although the rate of progression varies in people. Patients usually die from multiple complications associated with Lewy body dementia, such as immobility, falls, poor nutrition, swallowing difficulties, or pneumonia. The prognosis of Lewy body dementia over time is fair to poor.
Since antipsychotic drugs can worsen some symptoms Lewy body dementia. it may be helpful initially to try some non-drug approaches, such as:
- By tolerating the behavior
- By modifying the environment
- By offering soothing responses
- By creating daily routines and keeping tasks simple
Alternative Medicine For Lewy Body Dementia
Frustration and anxiety can also worsen dementia symptoms. Some these techniques may help promote relaxation:
- Music therapy which can involve listening to soothing music
- Pet therapy which involves using animals to improve moods and behaviors
- Aromatherapy, which involves the use of fragrant plant oils
- Massage therapy