A Closer Look at Dementia with Lewy Bodies

Memory Care Dallas

Also referred to as DLB, dementia with Lewy bodies is a progressive form of dementia that causes a continuous decline in reasoning, thinking, and independent function. If you have a loved one receiving dementia care for this condition, read on to learn a bit more about this disease.

How common is dementia with Lewy bodies?
After Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, experts estimate that DLB is the third leading cause of dementia and accounts for somewhere between 10 to 25% of all cases. This disease gets its name from Frederick H. Lewy, M.D., a neurologist who discovered the hallmark brain abnormalities that are linked to this condition.

What are the Lewy bodies associated with DLB?
These brain abnormalities, which are called Lewy bodies, are detected in other types of brain disorders as well, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s dementia. The Lewy bodies are made mostly of alpha-synuclein protein, which is found throughout the brain in all individuals, although its normal function is not known.

What are the causes of dementia with Lewy bodies?
Because the evidence and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, Parkinson’s disease with dementia, and DLB often overlap, some experts believe that they may all be linked to problems with how the brain processes alpha-synuclein. Also, many individuals who have Parkinson’s dementia or DLB also have tangles and plaques, which are the signature brain changes linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

What are the symptoms of dementia with Lewy bodies?
While significant memory loss can occur with this disease, it tends to be less prominent than that which develops as a result of Alzheimer’s. Symptoms often associated with Parkinson’s disease, such as balance problems, rigid muscles, and a hunched posture are also seen. Other symptoms include delusions, visual hallucinations, changes in reasoning and thinking, varying levels of confusion, automatic nervous system malfunctions, REM sleep behavior disorder, and difficulty interpreting visual information.

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