What is Lewy Body Dementia?

Often called the “other” dementia, Lewy body dementia (LBD) is the second most common form of dementia. This type of dementia is named after protein deposits that develop called Lewy bodies. Lewy bodies are formed within the brain’s nerve cells and resemble balloons or bubbles.

In their article 5 Symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia, the Cleveland Clinic discusses why professionals often misdiagnose this form of dementia. According to them, patients with LBD can also suffer from other diseases such as Parkinson’s, and it exhibits many of the same qualities as dementia. Movement, motor function, behavior, and thought processing are affected by the presence of Lewy bodies in brain cells.

Symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia – The 5 Most Common

Keep and eye on your loved one if they are showing memory loss. Look for these 5 symptoms of Lewy body dementia:

  • Confusion & sleepiness: Some days they may seem confused or sleepy unexpectedly.
  • Parkinson’s-like movements: This can include stiff, rigid, or slower movements, shuffling their feet, and imbalance.  
  • Cognitive trouble: This can look like Parkinson’s disease or presents as confusion, memory loss, trouble paying attention, or easily becoming distracted.
  • Hallucinations: They believe certain sensations to be real when they are not.
  • Trouble sleeping: Sleep is not restful, and they often physically act out their dreams, punching and kicking.

Lewy Body Dementia Stages

According to most experts, the disease becomes fatal between five and ten years after onset. Expert opinons differ on the number of stages. Some believe there are five and others believe there are seven. According to a Very Well Health article written by Esther Heerema, MSW, and medically reviewed by Huma Sheikh, MD, summarizes it to the early stages, middle stages, and later stages. Listed below are their findings for each stage:

Early Stages: The patient begins to have sleeping problems, signs of confusion, and hallucinations.

Middle Stages: The patient has symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease, with physical and motor functioning problems. Sometimes they will have difficulty focusing, speaking, or swallowing.

Later Stages: The patient’s physical issues get worse. They begin to display extreme muscle rigidity and sensitivity to sights and sounds, and are more vulnerable to infections.

Treatment for Lewy Body Dementia

Currently, there are no cures or preventions for Lewy body dementia. However, there is much research being done to improve symptoms of the disease once diagnosed. With the help of your loved one’s medical team, you can discuss treatments, prescription drugs, and other types of support therapy to help them cope.

A Memory Care Community for Those with Lewy Body Dementia

If your loved one has been diagnosed with Lewy body dementia or another form of dementia, they will benefit from the expertise of our highly trained psychiatric and memory care staff at Plainfield Health Care Center. For individuals with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, we have created a separate unit that is specialized and designed to meet their unique needs, with 24-hour supervision to prevent wandering. Contact us today to arrange a free care consultation for your loved one!