What to know about Lewy body dementia

Lewy body dementia (LBD) is a form of dementia that affects a person’s cognitive abilities and movement. It is a progressive disease, which means that its symptoms get worse over time.

 

LBD affects an estimated 1.4 million people and their families in the United States. It is the third most common form of dementia, after vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

 

This article explains the main signs and symptoms of LBD and provides information on treatment and coping.

 

What is LBD?

 

LBD is a progressive disease that occurs due to abnormal brain deposits of a protein known as alpha-synuclein. Experts call these protein deposits Lewy bodies.

 

According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), in a healthy brain, alpha-synuclein plays an important role, particularly in the synapses. With LBD, Lewy bodies form inside the synapses. This causes the neurons to work less effectively and die.

 

Lewy bodies can also cause changes to brain chemicals, affecting a person’s mental abilities, mood, and behavior.

 

There are two types of LBD:

  • Dementia with Lewy bodies: This condition occurs when the Lewy bodies initially develop in both the brain stem and cerebral cortex.
  • Parkinson’s disease dementia: This occurs when the Lewy bodies initially develop in the brain stem and then extend to the cerebral cortex over time.

 

Both forms result from the same brain changes. While the early signs differ, people with either type of LBD will eventually develop similar symptoms.

 

Whom does it affect?


Scientists do not know why LBD occurs. However, it typically affects people over the age of 50.


Symptoms


Symptoms of LBD are typically mild in the beginning and become more pronounced over time.

According to the NIA, the symptoms of LBD are as follows:

 

First signs and symptoms


Visual hallucinations may be one of the first symptoms that people develop, causing individuals to see things that are not there.

 

Visual hallucinations affect up to 80% of people with LBD.

 

Other hallucinations, such as hearing or smelling things that are not there, are less common but may also occur.

 

Read the full article for more valuable information here: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/lewy-body-dementia#symptoms