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What is Lewy Body Dementia?

In our focus about dementia I thought I would give you an insight today into Lewy Body Dementia. This is the third most common type of dementia. Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) is a complex dementia and is often misunderstood.

Lewy Body Dementia makes up about 10-25% of dementia cases. It is named after the abnormal protein deposits called Lewy bodies that form in the brain. LBD affects cognition, behaviour, and movement. It shares similarities with both Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease and often symptoms are a combination of cognitive decline and movement-related issues.

So what are the symptoms?

Symptoms of LBD are wide ranging and change, which makes diagnosis and management complex. You might see:

  1. Cognitive Fluctuations: Individuals with LBD may experience significant changes in attention, alertness, and concentration that can fluctuate throughout the day.

  2. Visual Hallucinations: Vivid and often unsettling visual hallucinations are a hallmark of LBD. These hallucinations can be challenging for both individuals and their caregivers to navigate.

  3. Parkinsonism: Motor symptoms resembling Parkinson's disease, such as stiffness, tremors, slow movement, and impaired balance, may manifest in individuals with LBD.

  4. REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder (RBD): LBD is often accompanied by RBD, a condition in which individuals act out their dreams during the REM sleep phase, potentially causing injury to themselves or others.

  5. Psychiatric Symptoms: Depression, anxiety, apathy, and personality changes are common in LBD, adding to the complexity of the disease.

Diagnosis and Management of Lewy Body Dementia:

Diagnosing LBD can be challenging. Where its symptoms overlap with other illnesses diagnosis can take time and sometimes individuals can be misdiagnosed. Diagnosis requires a comprehensive evaluation by a healthcare professional, including a detailed medical history, neurological examination, and specific diagnostic assessment. A team of specialists will be involved in any assessment.

Reviewing brain scans for dementia

Treatment may involve medications to manage cognitive and movement symptoms, lifestyle modifications, and therapy aimed at addressing specific challenges. Caregiver support and education are vital for navigating the LBD and ensuring the well-being of both the individual and their caregivers.

Don't forget the carers:

Living with Lewy Body Dementia can be daunting, but individuals and families should remember that they are not alone. If you are for someone it is crucial to prioritize self care and seek support. A carer needs to have a support network as much as the individual living with Lewy Body Dementia. Developing a structured routine, implementing safety measures and engaging in social activities will benefit both the carer and cared for.

Lewy Body Dementia presents unique challenges that require a comprehensive understanding and support network. By increasing awareness, advocating for improved resources, and nurturing a compassionate community, we can improve the lives of individuals and families affected by Lewy Body Dementia.

Our team at Argo understand this and have tailored our services to support families who live with Lewy Body Dementia. Living with Dementia is a team activity and like any team activity we have to make sure that all team members are healthy and well. This is how we provide our advice and support. We will not leave you after we have had an initial conversation. We will be there with you, on your journey, holding your hand throughout whether we are helping you prepare your will, supporting you with a care assessment or just being on the end of the phone if you are having a tough day. Argo is part of your team! Please give us a call on 01622 843729 if you want to see how we can help you further.

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