Lewy body dementia is the second most known type of degenerative dementia. It develops when a protein called alpha-synuclein has abnormal deposits in the brain. These abnormal protein deposits called Lewy bodies affect different brain regions. As they spread, they inflict damage to the brain cells, resulting in losing several mental functions.
From diagnosis, the condition lasts 5 to 8 years on average until death. However, the person can live between 2 to 20 years.
There are two types of Lewy Body Dementia (LBD): dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) and Parkinson's disease dementia. Often, people refer to dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) as Lewy body dementia (LBD).
Both types are characterized by similar symptoms and cause the same changes in the brain. The distinction lies in the timing of the movement and cognitive (thinking) symptoms. In Parkinson's disease, movement symptoms first appear, followed by a decline in cognitive skills. Meanwhile, cognitive deterioration symptoms emerge first in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) followed by movement problems after a while.
Dementia with Lewy bodies manifest symptoms similar to Alzheimer's, which makes it challenging to diagnose. But over time, movement issues and related symptoms that suggest DLB will start to appear.
The cause of LBD remains unknown. The condition isn't linked to genetics either. Up to this day, scientists are researching more about its genetics and biology.
Three main factors raise the risk of the disease:
Mild to severe symptoms that suggest Lewy body dementia can appear, but these signs may also vary from person to person.
Common symptoms of Lewy body dementia include:
Lew body dementia can't be prevented or cured; however, some symptoms may positively respond to a combination of medication, counseling, and therapy treatments. Moreover, building a reliable dementia care team can help provide the utmost care the person needs.
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