Many older adults suffer from dementia of some type. While Alzheimer's remains the most common type to be diagnosed, a lesser known disorder, known as Lewy Body Dementia, is also prevalent. Sharing common symptoms of both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, LBD can be devastating for those it strikes.
LBD is most likely to affect those who are over the age of 60, and men are usually diagnosed more frequently than women. Those with a family history of LBD or Parkinson's are also at a higher risk. Some studies even link depression as a risk factor to being diagnosed with LBD.
Symptoms of LBD
The early signs of LBD are very similar to other forms of dementia. However, there are frontotemporal dementia
that point towards an LBD diagnosis. These symptoms should be reported to a doctor, even if they seem very mild.
Hallucinations are unique to those with LBD. In fact, more than three-fourths of all LBD patients report visual hallucinations during their disease course. Auditory hallucinations may also affect a smaller percentage of patients.
Those who suffer from LBD will also experience cognitive loss. They may appear to be less alert or more withdrawn throughout the day. Patients also tend to sleep more, even after getting a full eight hours of sleep.
Dementia is seen in all LBD patients. While similar to other dementia disorders, people with LBD may find themselves having uncontrollable mood swings or confusion. They may also have trouble recognizing familiar situations or lose their ability to make logical decisions.
Since Parkinson's is closely related to LBD, it is common for LBD sufferers to have mobility issues. They may experience tremors, stiff muscles, or even loss of coordination. Movement problems can strike a patient at any time.
According to the Lewy Body Dementia Resource Center, there is no cure for LBD. Instead, patients are given medications to manage their symptoms and provide a better quality of life. The same medications that are used for both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's are often prescribed to LBD patients.
Cholinesterase inhibitors are frequently prescribed to improve cognitive function. frontotemporal dementia
who suffer from movement symptoms may be given medications, such as carbidopa-levodopa, to improve motor skills. Anti-psychotic medications are also commonly prescribed to treat severe hallucinations.
Anyone who suspects that someone if their life may be developing signs of dementia should be seen by a doctor right away. Even slight changes in motor skills or personality should be reported. Patients and caregivers can get information here to help them better understand what to expect from their LBD diagnosis.