Brief summary: Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is a common type of progressive dementia. It shares some symptoms with Alzheimer’s but has unique characteristics too. The symptoms may include memory loss, trouble with visual perception, and difficulties with attention and alertness. Physical symptoms like shaking and rigidity might also appear. This disease can cause significant changes in the way you think and act.
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What is Dementia with Lewy Bodies?
Dementia with Lewy bodies is a disease that affects the brain. It’s named after the tiny protein deposits found in nerve cells. These deposits can cause problems with how your brain functions, leading to a range of symptoms.
According to the National Institute on Aging, dementia with Lewy bodies affects over one million people in the United States. Typically, individuals usually exhibit symptoms at age 50 or older, despite the fact sometimes younger individuals have this condition. Besides, dementia with Lewy bodies seems to affect more men than women.
Symptoms of Dementia with Lewy Bodies
Memory Loss and Confusion
You might find it hard to recall things you once knew easily or become confused about time and place.
Problems with Attention and Alertness
DLB can cause changes in alertness. You might feel drowsy one moment and then alert the next. It’s like your brain’s “on-off switch” is acting unpredictably.
Some people with DLB see things that aren’t there. These aren’t dreams but seem very real. It could be something simple like seeing a pattern or something more complex like a person or animal.
You might notice stiffness, shaking, or trouble walking. It might feel similar to Parkinson’s disease.
People with DLB often have problems sleeping. You might find it hard to fall asleep or wake up frequently during the night.
You might feel down or depressed. Sometimes, you might feel unusually anxious or fearful.
How is it Different from Other Types of Dementia?
According to Alzheimer’s Association, DLB has some unique features that set it apart from other types of dementia, like Alzheimer’s. While memory loss is common in both, DLB often has a more pronounced effect on attention and can include visual hallucinations and physical symptoms like those seen in Parkinson’s disease.
How is Dementia with Lewy Bodies Diagnosed?
Diagnosing DLB can be tricky because its symptoms overlap with other diseases. Your doctor will usually ask about your medical history and perform a physical and neurological exam. Brain scans might also be used to get a clearer picture of what’s going on.
Treatment for Dementia with Lewy Bodies
While there’s no cure for DLB, treatments can help manage symptoms. Medications might be prescribed to help with memory, thinking, and movement. Therapy and lifestyle changes, like a healthy diet and regular exercise, can also support you in living with this condition.
In the end, if you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, it’s essential to reach out to a doctor. Thtas because early diagnosis and treatment can make a significant difference in managing the condition and maintaining quality of life.
Further Reading: 7 Early Warning Signs of Dementia You Shouldn’t Ignore