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How Does Lewy Body Dementia Start

Staring Into Space/zoning Out

What is dementia with Lewy bodies?

If a person is staring into space, it does not necessarily mean he or she has Lewy body dementia. However, once they keep doing it over and over again, over a longer period of time, you need to start taking things into consideration.

Indeed, staring into space or zoning out is one of Lewy body dementia symptoms, you should be aware of. For your information, they can stare into objects far away or items nearby.

One of the reasons they might begin to stare or completely lose track of what is happening around them is due to hallucinations. We already mentioned the latter above, so please re-read it if necessary.

How Is Lewy Body Dementia Treated

There arent any drugs that may stop or reverse Lewy body dementia (LBD, and research is still ongoing. Medications to relieve symptoms include:

  • Acetyl cholinesterase inhibitors: These work by increasing the levels of a chemical called acetylcholine in the brain, which improve the ability of the brain cells to send signals to each other
  • Antipsychotics such as haloperidol may help with behavior changes, but they can cause serious side effects and should be monitored and avoided whenever possible.
  • Antidepressants are usually prescribed for mood fluctuations.
  • Therapies:
  • Occupational therapy, speech therapy, physiotherapy, swallowing therapy, psychological therapies and relaxation techniques with increased social interaction may help patients.
  • Thoughts On Lewy Body Dementia Stages Or Phases

    • Maggie
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      Happy to provide the kind words. Theyre authentic and legitimate, and so well deserved to everyone dealing with LBD, Mary. If theres anything that will make the biggest difference, its likely kindness: towards others, and at least equally important to ourselves. Strength to you! Timothy Hudson

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      This is such helpful information. I believe we are in the final stage as my Mother cannot walk or feed herself or even move herself in the bed or while sitting. She tries to speak but she doesnt make actual words and her appetite has great decreased and her meat is given to her after being mechanically Processed. She was officially diagnosed 2 years ago but I have known something is very wrong for at least the past 6 years. Such a horrible disease.

    • TImothy HudsonPost authorPermalink

      It is a horrible disease, indeed, Tina. Very sorry for how things have been going with your Mother, and I hope you are both able to be comforted by the love and connection you share. Shes fortunate to have such a compassionate, caring daughter, indeed.Strength to you!

  • Permalink

    I am so sorry to hear this. My mum is 88 and is now showing symptoms. My dad is 90 and they live in our annexe. I have not involved our General Practitioner doctor. Having read the above article I can now relate to many of the symptoms my mum has been displaying. I hope your mum goes to sleep peacefully. Stay strong and safe.

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    What Are The Types Of Lewy Body Dementia

    There are two types of LBD: dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson’s disease dementia.

    Both types cause the same changes in the brain. And, over time, they can cause similar symptoms. The main difference is in when the cognitive and movement symptoms start.

    Dementia with Lewy bodies causes problems with thinking ability that seem similar to Alzheimer’s disease. Later, it also causes other symptoms, such as movement symptoms, visual hallucinations, and certain sleep disorders. It also causes more trouble with mental activities than with memory.

    Parkinson’s disease dementia starts as a movement disorder. It first causes the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease: slowed movement, muscle stiffness, tremor, and a shuffling walk. Later on, it causes dementia.

    Understanding Lewy Bodies Disease

    The 6 Stages of Parkinson

    Dementia with Lewy bodies is a form of progressive dementia. It’s caused by the decay of the tissues in the brain.

    People with DLB have a buildup of abnormal protein particles in their brain tissue, called Lewy bodies. Lewy bodies are also found in the brain tissue of people with Parkinson disease and Alzheimer disease . But in these conditions, Lewy bodies are generally found in different parts of the brain.

    The presence of Lewy bodies in DLB, PD, and AD suggests a link among these conditions. But scientists havent yet figured out what the link is.

    DLB affects a persons ability to think, reason, and process information. It can also affect movement, personality, and memory. DLB becomes more common with age. It often starts when a person is in his or her 60s and 70s. DLB is progressive, which means it continues to develop over time. There are several types of dementia with different causes.

    What causes dementia with Lewy bodies?

    The decay or deterioration of brain tissue causes dementia with Lewy bodies. DLB may be genetic. But it is not always clear why someone develops DLB. Lewy bodies in the brain affect substances called neurotransmitters. A neurotransmitter is a chemical that helps send signals from one nerve cell to another.

    One type of neurotransmitter is dopamine. It helps send signals that cause muscle movement. Lewy bodies interfere with the making of dopamine. A lack of dopamine causes movement problems, such as those seen in PD.

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    What Can I Expect If I Or My Loved One Have A Diagnosis Of Lewy Body Dementia

    Each persons experience with Lewy body dementia is unique to them. How slowly or quickly the disease progresses is impossible to know, but may be influenced by your general health and any existing diseases you may have. Because LBD is a progressive disease, difficulties with mind and body functions get worse over time. Currently, there is no known way to stop the progression of the disease. After diagnosis, most people with LBD live between five and seven years. Some people with LBD live up to 20 years after their diagnosis.

    However, theres always hope. Research on LBD, dementia with lewy bodies, Alzheimers disease, Parkinsons disease with dementia are ongoing. New medications are being developed and new approaches to treatment are being investigated.

    Care For The Caregiver

    Its easy to get lost in caregiving to the detriment of your own health and well-being. But you cant do your best for someone else if you dont take care of yourself.

    Try to follow these self-care tips:

    • Ask for help. Enlist family, friends, neighbors, or in-home healthcare providers.
    • Take time off to do something for yourself. Socialize with your friends, schedule a massage, or plop on the sofa and stream a movie. Me time matters.
    • Get regular exercise, even if its just a walk around the neighborhood.
    • Maintain a healthy diet so your own health doesnt get derailed.
    • Take a periodic time out for deep breathing and quiet meditation or soothing music.
    • See your own doctor when you start to feel out of whack.

    Caregiver burnout is all too real. It doesnt mean youve failed, it only means youre stretching yourself too thin. You might find it helpful to join a caregiver support group so you can interact with people who get it. If you start to feel emotionally or physically drained, consider speaking to a therapist.

    Last medically reviewed on May 18, 2017

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    What Are The Signs That Someone With Dementia Is Dying

    It is difficult to know when a person with dementia is coming to the end of their life. However, there are some symptoms that may indicate the person is at the end of their life including:

    • limited speech
    • needing help with everyday activities
    • eating less and swallowing difficulties
    • incontinence and becoming bed bound.

    When these are combined with frailty, recurrent infections and/or pressure ulcers, the person is likely to be nearing the end of their life. If the person has another life limiting condition , their condition is likely to worsen in a more predictable way.

    When a person gets to within a few days or hours of dying, further changes are common. These include:

    • deteriorating more quickly
    • irregular breathing
    • cold hands and feet.

    These are part of the dying process, and its important to be aware of them so that you can help family and friends understand what is happening.

    When a person with dementia is at the end of life its important to support the person to be as comfortable as possible until they die

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    Why Do Protein Deposits Form In The First Place

    Lewy body dementia and its rapid decline

    Researchers want to know why these protein aggregates form in the first place, how they distribute in the brain, how their signalling works, and how they and their precursors cause neurodegeneration.

    A range of theories have been put forward to explain what kickstarts damaging protein aggregation. In the case of Alzheimers, this includes problems with the way oxygen is metabolised in brain cells and the movement of internal cell contents. The brains response to inflammation, and its systems for clearing waste could also play a role.

    One main theory is that once amyloid-ß begins to accumulate, it then promotes the build-up of tau. But the relationship is not simple, because tau also has a role in influencing the toxic effects of amyloid-ß.

    Although some genetic risk factors for dementias have been identified, particularly for Alzheimers disease , we still dont know how these act to influence protein aggregation and cause degeneration. This is a key area of research focus, and knowing the answers to these questions is crucial to the prevention and treatment of dementia.

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    Data Collection And Analysis

    The semi-structured interview guide was developed by the PI and revised in response to suggestions from LBDA staff, two experts guiding the LBDA, and three caregivers for individuals who died from DLB. The guide included 11 open-ended questions regarding EOL experiences of the participant and his or her loved one with DLB . The PI, a physician specializing in DLB, conducted all the interviews. She had no prior relationship with participants. A professional service transcribed interviews verbatim, therefore member checking was not employed. Participants had the opportunity to receive study results when available.

    Stage Six: Severe Cognitive Decline

    Individuals in stage six need a high level of support to live comfortably. Memory loss tends to be significant, and many in stage six dementia are only able to recall memories of early life. Incontinence is common in this stage, and many patients also begin to lose their ability to speak. A change in personality may occur during this time period, which lasts an average of 2.5 years.

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    Parkinsons Alzheimers And Lewy Body Dementia

    Since Lewy body dementia is commonly misdiagnosed for both Parkinsons and Alzheimers, it is helpful to understand how these diseases overlap.

    Overlapping symptoms of Parkinsons, Alzheimers, and Lewy body dementia
    Parkinsons and Lewy body dementia Alzheimers and Lewy body dementia
    Some of the motor symptoms found in bothParkinsons and Lewy body patients include:

    • tremors
    Some of the cognitive symptoms found in bothAlzheimers and Lewy bodys patients include:

    • behavioral changes

    How Hospice Can Help With End

    Dementia Types: Symptoms, Stages, and Early Signs by ...

    In addition to helping you in recognizing the signs of dying in the elderly with dementia, bringing in hospice care will help with the physical and emotional demands of caregiving. Nurses will be able to adjust medication and care plans as the individuals needs change. Aides can help with bathing, grooming, and other personal care. Social workers can help organize resources for the patient and family. Chaplains and bereavement specials can help the family with any emotional or spiritual needs. Additionally, family members can contact hospice at any time, and do not need to wait until it is recommended by the patients physician.

    To learn more about the criteria for hospice eligibility or to schedule a consultation, please contact Crossroads using the blue Help Center bar on this page for more information on how we can help provide support to individuals with dementia and their families.

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    Clinical History And Testing

    Diagnostic tests can be used to establish some features of the condition and distinguish them from symptoms of other conditions. Diagnosis may include taking the person’s medical history, a physical exam, assessment of neurological function, testing to rule out conditions that may cause similar symptoms, brain imaging, neuropsychological testing to assess cognitive function,sleep studies, or myocardial scintigraphy. Laboratory testing can rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms, such as abnormal thyroid function, syphilis, HIV, or vitamin deficiencies that may cause symptoms similar to dementia.

    Dementia screening tests are the Mini-Mental State Examination and the Montreal Cognitive Assessment. For tests of attention, digit span, serial sevens, and spatial span can be used for simple screening, and the Revised Digit Symbol Subtest of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale may show defects in attention that are characteristic of DLB. The Frontal Assessment Battery, Stroop test and Wisconsin Card Sorting Test are used for evaluation of executive function, and there are many other screening instruments available.

    If DLB is suspected when parkinsonism and dementia are the only presenting features, PET or SPECT imaging may show reduced dopamine transporter activity. A DLB diagnosis may be warranted if other conditions with reduced dopamine transporter uptake can be ruled out.

    Stage Five: Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline

    Stage five is marked by moderately severe cognitive decline. Individuals in this stage often have notable memory loss and begin to struggle with daily activities. Significant details such as address or phone number may be difficult to recall, and those with stage five dementia will likely need assistance with tasks such as meal preparation and bathing.

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    How Is Lbd Different From Parkinsons Or Alzheimers

    These diseases are similar in a lot of ways. But there are some key differences in the symptoms that affect people with LBD and when those symptoms happen.

    LBD may not cause short-term memory loss like Alzheimerâs. People with both conditions have trouble with thinking, alertness, and paying attention. But in LBD, those problems come and go. The disease can also cause hallucinations, often in the first few years someone has LBD. People with Alzheimerâs usually donât have hallucinations until the later stages.

    People with LBD also often act out their dreams and make violent movements when theyâre asleep. Itâs called REM sleep behavior disorder. Sometimes, itâs the first sign that someone has LBD.

    LBD and Parkinsonâs disease both cause movement problems, like stiff muscles and tremors. But most people with Parkinsonâs donât have problems with their thinking and memory until the very later stages of their disease. Sometimes, they donât have it at all. In the type of LBD known as Parkinsonâs disease with dementia, these problems begin much sooner.

    People with LBD also need different drugs for their condition than the ones that treat Parkinsonâs or Alzheimerâs.

    What Is Lewy Body Dementia And What Happens In It

    What is Lewy Body Dementia or LBD?

    The deposition of lewy bodies in the brain causes its function to decline and eventually ends up as dementia, which is termed as Lewy body dementia . LBD is a progressive condition, meaning that symptoms gradually get worse over time. People with the disease will notice the decline in mental function, memory and understanding that affects all people with dementia. However, individuals with Lewy body dementia may also experience some of the more confusing and upsetting symptoms of dementia including visual hallucinations and sleep disruption. The movement problems of Parkinson’s disease, including shaking, stiffness and slow movement are also prevalent.

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    What Is The Clock Test For Dementia

    A clock test is a tool for screening for neurological problems such as dementia.

    A clock test is carried out by a medical professional where a person is handed a piece of paper and is asked to draw a clock along with a specific time on the clock face.

    An abnormally completed clock would indicate further tests are needed.

    As dementia progresses a person may forget the meaning of words and they may also forget words in general. This makes communication difficult and as the disease progresses a person will lose the ability to communicate.

    The first part of getting someone with dementia into a care home is to ask for a needs assessment from your local council. The UK government website has more information on this.

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    Movement Problems And Lewy Body Dementia

    Some people with LBD may not experience significant movement problems for several years. Others may have them early on. At first, movement symptoms, such as a change in handwriting, may be very mild and easily overlooked. Movement problems may include:

    • Muscle rigidity or stiffness

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    Understanding Lewy Body Dementia

    Lewy body dementia consists of two different conditions: dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson’s disease dementia. The two share many of the same symptoms and may often be considered to be the same.

    However, one significant factor in how Lewy body dementia progresses is related to which disease is actually present. In Parkinson’s disease dementia, the physical challenges are usually evident first, while in dementia with Lewy bodies, cognitive changes may appear earlier than, about the same time, or shortly after, the physical changes develop.

    What Causes Lewy Body Dementia

    Dementia with Lewy Bodies

    LBD happens when Lewy bodies build up in parts of the brain that control memory, thinking, and movement. Lewy bodies are abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein. Researchers don’t know exactly why these deposits form. But they do know that other diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, also involve a build-up of that protein.

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