Lewy Body Dementia

1 What Is Lewy Body Dementia?

Lewy body dementia is a type of dementia in which proteins accumulate in the cells of the brain leading to problems with thinking, memory and movement.

It is the second most common type of progressive dementai after Alzheimer's disease.

Symptoms that people with Lewy body dementia experience may include

  • hallucinations,
  • changes in alertness and attention,
  • muscle rigidity,
  • slow movement and tremors.

2 Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of Lewy body dementia may include the following:

LewyBodyDementia

  • Visual hallucinations
  • Touch, smell and sound hallucinations
  • Movement disorders such as slowed movements, rigid muscles or tremors
  • Poor regulation of  body functions like blood pressure, pulse, sweating and  digestive processes which are regulated by the autonomic nervous system
  • Problems with thinking and memory
  • Sleeping disorders
  • Problems with attention
  • Depression and apathy
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3 Causes

Lewy body dementia is caused by accumulation of proteins, known as Lewy bodies, in the brain.

People with this type of dementia may also have plaques and tangles as seen in Alzheimers disease.

4 Making a Diagnosis

Tests that can be used for the diagnosis of Lewy body dementia include:

Neurological and physical exams

Doctors may test:

  • reflexes,
  • muscle strength and tone,
  • eye movements,
  • ability to walk,
  • balance
  • sense of touch.

These exams are also used for checking signs of:

Tests to check the mental abilities are used to  assess the memory and thinking ability of the patient.

These tests are helpful as they can help distinguish Lewy body dementia from Alzheimer's disease.

Blood tests can be used to check for other problems that can affect the function of the brain, like vitamin B-12 deficiency or hypothyroidism.

Brain imaging scans like MRI, CT or PET scans can be used to  make sure the function of the brain is not as a result of stroke, bleeding or tumor.

5 Treatment

There is no cure for Lewy body dementia. Symptomatic treatment includes:

Medications

Like rivastigmine (Exelon), that increase the levels of chemical messengers in the brain that are responsible for memory, thought and judgement can be used.

Other drugs like carbidopa-levodopa (Sinemet) can also be administered to reduce Parkinsonian symptoms like muscle rigidity and slow movement.

Patients taking these medications should be monitored since they can lead to confusion, hallucinations and delusions.

Non-drug therapies

Can also be used. Maing modifications to the environmentand creating daily routines and keeping simple tasks can be very helpful for patients with Lewy body dementia.

6 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

Alternative remedies that may help patients with Lewy body dementia to relax include:

  • Music therapy
  • Pet therapy
  • Aromatherapy
  • Massage therapy                                                                                                   

7 Risks and Complications

There are several risks and complications associated with Lewy body dementia.

Factors that may increase the risk of developing Lewy body dementia include:

  • Adults older than 60
  • Being male
  • Having a family history of Lewy body dementia or Parkinson's disease

Because Lewy body dementia is a progressive disease, symptoms tend to get worse with time.

As result of this the following complications may arise:

  • Severe dementia
  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Depression

An increased risk of falling and injury

  • Worsening of symptoms like tremors
  • Death 
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