Is Lewy Body Dementia Hereditary & What is the Life Expectancy of a Person with Lewy Body Dementia?
Most patients suffering from Lewy Body Dementia prefer visiting a primary care physician at the initial stage. Diagnosing the disorder can be a real problem if the symptoms grow severe.
There are many families that have been affected by Lewy Body Dementia (LBD). However, it has been seen that very few individuals and even medical professionals are aware of the diagnostic criteria and symptoms. Some even don’t have the idea whether or not the disease exists. Therefore, you should know about Lewy Body Dementia not only to save yourself but also your loved ones, families and friends. Lewy body dementia is a type of progressive dementia that comes only after Alzheimer’s disease dementia.
Is Lewy Body Dementia Hereditary?
Generally, the cases of Lewy Body Dementia are not considered to be inherited. It occurs irregularly or periodically in people even if they don’t have a family history. In rare cases, it has been seen that the disease can affect more than one family member. Although, this is the case when a single gene changes (mutation) and follows a specific pattern of inheritance. However, in other generic cases, gene do not follow a particular pattern, and thus a multifunctional cause occurs associating with multiple genes with environmental factors and lifestyle.
When dementia is caused by SNCB or SNCA (a type of gene) mutation it can be inherited. This means a copy of the altered gene in a single cell is enough to cause the disorder. In such cases, it has been seen that the affected person has a parent with this particular condition. People with mutation of one copy have an increased risk of developing Lewy Body Dementia.
However, scientists are making a lot of efforts in studying the exact underlying cause of inheritance.
Common Symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia
The disease of Lewy Body Dementia affects cognitive response, changes physical and sleep pattern along with changing behavioral features. Some people may start developing the disorder in movement in the initial stage that further leads to dementia. This is often termed as Parkinson’s disease dementia.
Another group of people may start developing cognitive disorder with two or more distinctive features of dementia. There are very few people that come up with neuropsychiatric symptoms. These include hallucinations, behavioral problems, and complex mental activities.
Generic symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia include:
- Impaired thinking like loss of execution, planning, processing and/or ability to understand visual information
- Fluctuation in alertness, attention, and cognition
- Sudden tremors, stiffness, and difficulty in walking
- Changes in bodily functions like blood pressure, temperature regulation bowel and bladder function.
What is the Life Expectancy of a Person with Lewy Body Dementia?
Unfortunately, there is no proper cure when it comes to Lewy Body Dementia. People who are suffering from Lewy Body Dementia can be expected to live for a further 5 to 8 years. However, this solely depends on the age, the severity of the symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia and other medical conditions. Actually, the severity of Lewy Body Dementia varies across people. The situation may become worse through improper medications, infections, and another underlying disease. In most cases, other forms of dementia have a specific pattern. However, this is a special type of dementia that does not follow any pattern. Generally, death occurs from pneumonia or other illness. The fact is there’s no specific treatment or cure to prevent the course of Lewy Body Dementia.
Treatment for Lewy Body Dementia
Extreme caution must be taken in treating a person suffering from Lewy Body Dementia. For proper treatment, medications must be monitored closely. This is because there are some Lewy Body Dementia patients who react adversely to some drugs especially if the medications are neuroleptic, anti-psychotic, benzodiazepines or antihistamines. Common side effects of medications for Lewy Body Dementia may include catatonia, loss of cognitive function and development of muscle rigidity.
Medications that are used to treat Alzheimer’s disease often come to help in curing the disorder of Lewy Body Dementia especially when it comes to Levodopa. However, in some cases, it may increase the hallucinations and aggravate other symptoms. A number of testing is done to rule out other possibilities that cause dementia.
Consult with a highly certified and expert neurologist in the initial stage to prevent the severity of symptoms and cure the disorder as much as possible.
A person’s mental abilities start declining if he/she suffers from Lewy body dementia. A patient suffering from this disease may experience changes in alertness and visual hallucinations. Severe symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia may include Parkinson’s disease-like rigid muscles, tremors, and slow movement.