Lewy Body Dementia, the Importance of Early Detection

According to the Lewy Body Dementia Association, an estimated 1.3 million Americans have Lewy Body Dementia. It is currently the second most common type of dementia after Alzheimer’s Disease. Despite the prevalence of Lewy Body Dementia, there isn’t as much attention drawn to it as there is to Alzheimer’s Disease.
One report finds that seniors display signs of Lewy Body dementia for 1 ½ years before getting a correct diagnosis. Delay in diagnosis can lead to using medicine that has negative effects. The earlier the correct diagnosis, the more likely that treatment will be successful at improving quality of life.
Lewy body dementia comes from the formation of protein deposits in the brain, particularly in regions responsible for thinking, memory, and movement. These deposits are known as Lewy bodies. Every case of Lewy body dementia is different; but, common symptoms are as follows:

  • Hallucinations, usually visual
  • Acting out Behaviors
  • Movement disorders (similar to Parkinsons)
  • Poor regulation of body functions
  • Fluctuating Cognition
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Depression
  • Apathy

Fluctuating Cognition is important to remember.  Fluctuations can happen quickly, giving the misconception that people who have this disorder are “faking” it, but they absolutely are not. It’s entirely possible to be perfectly fine one hour/day only to be confused and agitated the next hour/day. Fluctuations vary according to the individual and can occur at any time. This causes a great deal of confusion and frustration for caregivers.
Lewy Body Dementia comes with unique challenges.  If you, or a loved one, are struggling with Lewy Body Dementia, we can help.  Please call for information and a full assessment and review.

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