Lewy Body Disease, abbreviated as LBD, is a common form of dementia that affects around 1.4 Million Individuals in the United States. Dementia is broadly defined as the loss of key mental functions. An individual will experience impairment of his/her daily activities and a detriment to his/her quality of life.
In the case of Lewy Body Disease (LBD), abnormal structures called Lewy bodies are built up in portions of the brain causing impairment of mental functions for affected patients. Lewy body disease usually occurs in patients aged 50 to 85. It may hard for medical practitioners to diagnose the said disease as it can have similar symptoms to that of Schizophrenia and Parkinson’s. In fact, doctors theorize that Lewy Body Disease may be related to both Alzheimers and Parkinson’s or that the three (3) mental disorders occur at the same time in patients. In this article, we will look at some of the things we should know about Lewy Body Disease.
Things We should know About Lewy Body Disease
As mentioned earlier, Lewy Body Disease affects a large number of individuals in the United States alone. Knowing more about the Lewy Body Disease and what it does may be the best way to prevent or even address this debilitating disorder. Listed below are some of the things we should know about Lewy Body Disease (LBD).
1. Dementia caused by the Lewy Body Disease (LBD) is the second most common form of degenerative Dementia
Lewy Body disease is a common form of degenerative dementia, second only to Alzheimer’s. Other degenerative diseases that can cause dementia are more well known than Lewy Body Disease. However, this illness is actually one of the main causes of dementia.
2. The Lewy Body Disease can have three (3) common presentations
While the Lewy body disease can have similar symptoms at the onset or in the initial stages of the disease, Lewy body disease will eventually have three (3) more specific presentations such as:
- Some patients will first develop some form of movement or locomotion disorder. These patients may be diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease Dementia
- Other patients will start with impaired cognitive or memory functions. This may at first be diagnosed as Alzheimer’s disease. Over time, however, other distinct symptoms may be identified by medical professionals leading to a more specific diagnosis of “Dementia with Lewy Body Disease”.
- A small group of patients, on the other hand, will develop neuropsychiatric symptoms such as psychosis, hallucinations, behavioral problems and problems in terms of complex mental activities. These patients will also be diagnosed with DLB or “Dementia with Lewy Body Disease”.
3. The Lewy Body Disease may have a number of different symptoms
The Lewy Body Disease may have different symptoms that are common in most patients. These are:
- Patients may experience impaired executive functions. This affects the planning and processing of information and the recognition and processing of some visual information
- Individuals with Lewy Body Disease (LBD) may experience varying levels of cognition, alertness, and attention
- Patients with Lewy Body Disease may also experience various problems in terms of movement and locomotion. This includes tremors, stiffness, slowness, and difficulty in walking.
- Individuals afflicted with LBD may also experience hallucinations or seeing things that are not really present or tangible
- Patients may also experience varied moods or mood swings such as delusions, paranoia, apathy, anxiety, and agitation.
- People with Lewy Body Disease may also experience certain sleep orders such as acting out dreams or nightmares.
- Individuals with the Lewy Body Disease will have certain changes in their autonomic bodily functions such as blood pressure, regulation of body temperatures and functions of their bladder and bowel.
4. The symptoms of the Lewy Body Disease are treatable
The medications and therapy that form part of the overall treatment of Lewy Body disease are shown to be effective in alleviating the symptoms of LBD in terms of cognitive functions and behavioral issues. These treatments showsimilaritiess to that being prescribed to patients of Alzheimers and Parkinson’s.
5. It is important to accurately diagnose the Lewy Body Disease during its initial stages
Lewy Body Disease patients need the appropriate medication and treatment compared to other dementia disorders such as Alzheimers and Parkinson’s. Early and accurate diagnosis is the key to effectively address and alleviate the symptoms caused by the LBD.
6. Traditional Antipsychotic Medications can actually worsen the overall condition of patients with Lewy Body Disease
Many traditional antipsychotic medications specifically designed for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other dementias may cause an adverse reaction in patients suffering from LBD. These traditional medications may cause something called neuroleptic malignant syndrome. This results in severe fever, a rigidity of the muscles and nutritional breakdown that can eventually lead to renal or kidney failure.
7. Preventive measures through early detection and treatment of Lewy Body Disease can significantly affect a patient’s quality of life and wellness
Related to entry/ item number 5, the early detection, diagnosis and treatment of the Lewy Body Disease can significantly affect the outcomes of this disease particularly a patient’s cognitive abilities, motor functions and ability to accomplish daily tasks. The regular and sustained treatment by a physician may include medication, therapies, and changes in exercise, eating, and sleeping habits.
8. Patients with the Lewy Body Disease need the support of their families and loved ones and should not have to face the disease on their own
Patients with LBD need all the assistance they can get to be able to handle the challenges of the disorder. The support and assistance given by health professionals through medication and therapy are not enough. The patient’s family and loved ones should also provide them with a support system. Lewy Body Disease requires continued care. The combined efforts of a healthcare professional and the patient’s family is a must to be able to fight against the adverse effects of this dementia.