Lewy Body dementia is a disease which causes a steady decline of the mental capability of an individual. This is second in line with Alzheimer Dementia as a common form of dementia. This disease leads to visual hallucinations where people start to see objects which really are not present. Some people are also found to have conversations with their beloveds who are no more. In this disease, there is severe instability in attention of a person. This disease leads to tremors and other symptoms which are symbolic of Parkinson disease. The term Lewy Body is given to protein accumulation in the nerve cells in the area of brain that takes care of thinking, movement, and memory.
Symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia
The Signs and Symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia Are As Follows
- Visual Hallucinations: As described above people suffering from Lewy Body dementia start to see things which are not there. Some people also hear sounds and experience olfactory hallucinations as well.
- Movement Disorders: People suffering from this disease experience symptoms which are seen with Parkinson disease such as slowness of movement, tremors, etc.
- Severe Decreased Body Function: The processes in the brain that take care of a person's BP, pulse, etc. get affected by Lewy Body and hence a person suffering from Lewy Body dementia has issues with those functions.
- Cognitive Issues: people may also experience a steady cognitive decline with confusion, impaired attention, memory loss etc.
- Sleep Impairment:People suffering with this disease start having sleep impairment where they start to act out their dreams while asleep.
- Depression: Depression also sets in with time with progression of this disease.
Causes of Lewy Body Dementia
There is no known cause of Lewy Body dementia but it is said that it have a link with Alzheimer or Parkinson disease. Attempts have been made to corroborate this by the following arguments:
- Lewy Body is protein deposition which is also associated with Parkinson's disease.
- Lewy Bodies are often found in people who are suffering from Parkinson's disease or Alzheimer's disease.
Diagnosis for Lewy Body Dementia
To diagnose Lewy Body dementia, the following symptoms should be occurring in a person:
- Variable cognitive function
- Frequent visual hallucinations
- Tremors, muscle rigidity etc.
- Sleep behavior disorder
- Autonomic dysfunction
The following screenings are done to diagnose whether a person has Lewy Body dementia
Neurological and Physical Examination for Lewy Body Dementia
In this, the physician checks for indications of Parkinson's disease, tumors etc. which may hamper the function of the brain.
The physician also conducts a detailed neurological examination checking reflexes, balance, sensibility to touch, mental status evaluation. The results are then compared to the results obtained from a normal individual to determine any cognitive dysfunction.
Treatment of Lewy Body Dementia
At present, there is no clear cut cure this Lewy Body dementia but treatment is done for the impairments that the person is suffering from. The following modalities are used:
- Medications: Exelon is useful for increasing alertness, cognition and reduces hallucinations. Another medication called Sinemet helps with muscle rigidity and movement.
- Therapies: Since there are side effects associated with the drug therapy, nonpharmacologic approach is also helpful in the initial stages like environmental changes, modifying tasks and routines, improved communication, mental exercises like crossword puzzles etc. to improve focus and attention, improving behavioral patterns etc. Alternative therapies such as music therapy, aromatherapy etc. are also used in patients.