According to the Lewy Body Dementia Association, Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) affects more than a million people in the United States alone. It’s also the second most common form of progressive dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. So what is Lewy Body Dementia, what are its signs and symptoms, and what can you expect? Read on below to find out everything you need to know about Lewy Body Dementia.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Lewy Body Dementia comes from protein deposits called Lewy bodies, which develop in nerve cells in the brain, affecting thinking, memory and movement. Plaques and tangles, also present in Alzheimer’s diseases, are often found as well.
According to the Lewy Body Dementia Association, symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia can include changes in thinking, behavior, movement, and sleep, including:
- Dementia – affecting decision-making, problem-solving and planning, while causing memory loss
- Cognitive fluctuations – causing changes in concentration, alertness or attention
- Movement disorders/movement symptoms – causing slowness of movement, rigidity, shuffling walk, tremors, or balance problems and symptoms like those occurring in Parkinson’s disease
- Behavioral changes – like visual hallucinations, delusions, or changes in mood
- Sleep disorders – like REM sleep behavior disorder, insomnia, or restless leg syndrome
- Autonomic symptoms – causing problems with temperature and blood pressure regulation, incontinence, and more
Lewy Body Dementia affects people in many stages, seven to be exact. These stages may show up in those with the disease at different times, and progression can move slowly or rapidly. Read more about the stages of Lewy Body Dementia and how they affect and change behavior below.
During stage one, those with Lewy Body Dementia don’t know they are living with the disease yet. There are no symptoms, and diagnosis is not likely unless found by a routine MRI or CT scan.
Very mild symptoms begin to appear, but often they are very difficult or even impossible to notice. You may experience or see forgetfulness, but it won’t impact daily life or activities of daily living.
Mild symptoms become more noticeable. Often it’s in stage three that memory, concentration, and movement issues begin to be noticed. Those dealing with the disease may have some difficulty working or carrying on their daily routine.
Most people with LBD are diagnosed at this stage. This is because symptoms become disruptive to everyday life. Forgetfulness, tremors, issues speaking, and difficulty swallowing are common.
During this stage, symptoms are often moderate or severe. Living alone becomes impossible as 24-hour supervision is required, and significant memory loss and confusion occur.
Severe symptoms are noticed in stage six. Memory loss is worsened; individuals may not know who family members are; they may not be able to speak; and they often experience incontinence at this stage.
This is the final stage of Lewy Body Dementia. Those with the disease are unable to walk, have difficulty communicating and require around-the-clock care and assistance.
Both older adults and caregivers often reach out for support after a diagnosis of dementia with Lewy bodies. This gives them the ability to search for resources, plan for the future, and receive the support they need.
However, caregivers may not reach out for care until their loved one requires constant supervision and support with all daily activities, or their needs become more than they can handle.
At Waterstone on High Ridge, we provide memory care services for those with all types of dementia and cognitive decline, including dementia with Lewy Bodies, Parkinson’s disease dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
This cutting-edge memory care approach, supported by the experts at Bridges® by EPOCH, provides the highest quality dementia and Alzheimer’s care, providing families and loved ones with peace of mind and dedicated support every step of the way.
For more information on Lewy Body Dementia and Bridges® memory care at Waterstone on High Ridge, visit our website or schedule a visit today.
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