How Is Lewy Body Disease Diagnosed
This type of dementia is diagnosed by taking a careful history of the pattern of symptoms, and by excluding other possible causes such as Vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. A brain scan may reveal brain degeneration, but the Lewy bodies can only be identified by examination of brain tissue after death.
Lewy body disease is similar to Alzheimer’s disease in many ways, and in the past it has sometimes been difficult to distinguish the two. It has only recently been accepted as a disease in its own right. It can occur by itself or together with Alzheimer’s disease and/or Vascular dementia. It may be hard to distinguish Lewy body disease from Parkinson’s disease, and some people with Parkinson’s disease develop a dementia which is similar to that seen in Lewy body disease.
Treating Movement Symptoms In Lewy Body Dementia
LBD-related movement symptoms may be treated with medications used for Parkinson’s disease, called carbidopa-levodopa. These drugs can help make it easier to walk, get out of bed, and move around. However, they cannot stop or reverse the disease itself. Side effects of this medication can include hallucinations and other psychiatric or behavioral problems. Because of this risk, physicians may recommend not treating mild movement symptoms with medication. Other Parkinson’s medications are less commonly used in people with LBD due to a higher frequency of side effects.
People with LBD may benefit from physical therapy and exercise. Talk with your doctor about what physical activities are best.
Physical Difficulties In The Later Stages Of Dementia
The physical changes of late-stage dementia are partly why the person is likely to need much more support with daily living. At this stage they may:
- walk more slowly, with a shuffle and less steadily eventually they may spend more time in a chair or in bed
- be at increased risk of falls
- need a lot of help with eating and so lose weight
- have difficulty swallowing
- be incontinent losing control of their bladder and bowels.
The persons reduced mobility, in particular, raises their chances of blood clots and infections. These can be very serious or even fatal so it is vital that the person is supported to be as mobile as they can.
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Older Age Being Born Male And Stroke Are Known Risk Factors
Lewy body dementia is caused by protein deposits, called Lewy bodies, in parts of the brain involved in thinking, memory, and movement. The disease is characterized by a progressive decline in mental function, causing visual hallucinations and changes in alertness and attention along with Parkinson’s disease-like movement problems.
Exactly what causes Lewy bodies to accumulate is not fully understood. And until recently, the only known risk factor for developing Lewy body dementia was older age. In recent years, however, scientists have identified other factors that appear to contribute to the risk of this common and rapidly progressing form of dementia.
This article looks at nine risk factors for Lewy body dementiathe second most common cause of dementia in the United States after Alzheimer’s disease.
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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Signs Of The Dying Process
As someones condition gets worse and they are within a few days or hours of dying, further changes are common. The person may:
- deteriorate more quickly than before
- lose consciousness
- develop an irregular breathing pattern
- have a chesty or rattly sound to their breathing
- have cold hands and feet.
These changes are part of the dying process when the person is often unaware of what is happening.
Lbd Story: Facing Tough Choices At The End Of Life
When a loved one is nearing the end of life from a disease like Lewy body dementia, emotions run strong, and confusion can overtake the decision process. I want to share my own personal experience as an LBD caregiver in the hopes it will help others.
We engaged hospice services for my father before he was in the dying process. And Im so glad we did. He had taken to keeping his eyes closed much of the time he was awake. And slowly he lost the strength to bear any weight on his legs. In came hospice staff and all of their wonderful resources.
I was surprised when he became more alert and responsive under their care. Looking back, now I realize it makes perfect sense. They used a proactive strategy to manage the normal aches and pains of getting older and being less active. He had clearly been living with pain but was unable to express it. How long had that being going on? After a month or two, they suggested further improvement might negate the need for hospice care.
But then influenza swept through the memory care residence. Despite aggressive cleaning efforts by the staff, the flu spread. It wasnt long before Dad developed a high fever and couldnt be awakened.
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What Are The 7 Stages Of Dementia
Dementia is a disease that affects millions of Americans. There are several types of dementia that we know of, including Alzheimers Disease and Lewy Body Dementia.
While forms of dementia vary in symptoms and severity, the Global Deterioration Scale aids in identifying the typical progression.
If you or someone you know may be in the early stages of dementia, heres what you need to know about its seven stages:
Dying From Dementia With Late
Brigid Dwyer, MD, is a board-certified neurologist and an Assistant Professor of Neurology at Boston University School of Medicine.
Knowing what to expect can help when your loved one has late-stage dementia. The death of your loved one can be a hard concept to wrap your head around and accept. It’s important to understand what’s coming in the future so you can prepare emotionally and practically.
This article explains how dementia progresses and what happens during late-stage dementia.
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Caring For Someone With Lbd
Someone with LBD may be helped by making her environment more soothing. Speaking reassuringly and avoiding conflict can be helpful. Acquiescing rather than arguing or trying to reason with someone who has LBD is often the best choice, as long as safety is not an issue. Providing a routine and allowing the person to perform simple tasks can help reduce agitation and anxiety. In the final stages of LBD, when the ability to control movements results in the loss of self-care functions and eating, full or part-time hospice care may be an option.
- Dementia with Lewy Bodies: Clinical, Pathological, and Treatment Issues Robert Perry, et al.
Dr. Margaret Baker studied biochemistry, pharmacology and nutrition, and conducted research on cancer therapeutics. She served as a patent agent for the biopharmaceutical division of a Fortune 500 company. Dr. Baker has published in peer reviewed journals, e-Books, and is a frequent commenter on discoveries in the life sciences.
Causes Of Lewy Body Dementia Vs Alzheimer’s
Lewy body dementia is caused by the abnormal buildup of proteins, called Lewy bodies, in the brain. When clumps of these proteins accumulate, nerves in the brain start to lose their function and eventually die. The damage in the brain is widespread and affects many domains of thinking and functioning.
Alzheimer’s is caused by the abnormal buildup of proteins called amyloid that leads to the formation of plaques in the brain. The abnormal twisting of another protein called tau causes neurofibrillary tangles that block signals between nerve cells. Over time, the progressive damage will kill the cells.
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> > > Best Memory Loss Solution Available
If youre experiencing memory loss, you should go to a doctor. Your doctor will perform a physical exam and ask about your symptoms. He or she will also ask you about your medication and any stress youre experiencing. After the exam, he or she will likely ask you to make an appointment with a neuropsychologist. If youre unable to recall the details of your doctor, you may want to consult another healthcare provider.
What Is Lewy Body Dementia Causes Symptoms And Treatments
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Lewy body dementia is a disease associated with abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein in the brain. These deposits, called Lewy bodies, affect chemicals in the brain whose changes, in turn, can lead to problems with thinking, movement, behavior, and mood. Lewy body dementia is one of the most common causes of dementia.
LBD affects more than 1 million individuals in the United States. People typically show symptoms at age 50 or older, although sometimes younger people have LBD. LBD appears to affect slightly more men than women.
Diagnosing LBD can be challenging. Early LBD symptoms are often confused with similar symptoms found in other brain diseases or in psychiatric disorders. Lewy body dementia can occur alone or along with other brain disorders.
It is a progressive disease, meaning symptoms start slowly and worsen over time. The disease lasts an average of five to eight years from the time of diagnosis to death, but can range from two to 20 years for some people. How quickly symptoms develop and change varies greatly from person to person, depending on overall health, age, and severity of symptoms.
In the early stages of LBD, symptoms can be mild, and people can function fairly normally. As the disease advances, people with LBD require more help due to a decline in thinking and movement abilities. In the later stages of the disease, they often depend entirely on others for assistance and care.
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Find Help At The Kensington Restons Memory Care Community
Our goal is to help caregivers and families find a safe, enriching environment for their loved one with memory loss.
Our community has an enhanced assisted living license, which allows us to provide a higher level of care than is normally seen in other communities. Our license enables us to employ a team of nurses who work 24 hours a day and are capable of providing medication administration.
At the Kensington Reston, we excel at helping those with memory loss get the treatment they deserve. We have two distinct memory care communities Haven and Connections.
Each community is specially designed to help treat those who are either in the beginning stages of dementia, or in the late stages. Each community provides a fully secure environment with a higher level of care thats found in other communities.
At the Kensington Reston, we extend Our Promise to you to love and take care of your family as we would our own.
If youre the caregiver of a person with LBD, please contact us today to learn how our memory care community can provide exceptional care for your loved one.
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Changes In Sleep Patterns
Those in the midst of moderate cognitive decline often present with changes in sleep patterns. Although nighttime sleep disturbances such as REM sleep behavior disorder may not be noticed by all loved ones , significant changes in sleeping habits are hard to miss. In stage four dementia, excessive sleepiness during the day and restlessness at night may occur.
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Low Or No Caffeine Intake
A history of high caffeine intake is associated with a lower risk of Lewy body dementia. Research has suggested that the benefits increase in tandem with the amount of caffeine a person drinks per day and may reduce the risk of Lewy body dementia by as much as 29%.
Some studies suggest that people who consume more than 400 milligrams of caffeine per day are at a significantly lower risk of Lewy body dementia.
Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Precursor To Dementia
Many people experience a certain amount of normal cognitive decline as they age needing extra time to connect a persons name with their face, say, or to recall a computer password.
Mild cognitive impairment is more significant than that, involving lapses in memory, language, thinking, and judgment that are noticeable to the person and perhaps his or her own family and close friends yet not serious enough to interfere with everyday life.
About 12 to 18 percent of people age 60 or older are estimated to have mild cognitive impairment.
Researchers believe that mild cognitive impairment may be a precursor to dementia. According to the Alzheimers Association, about one-third of those with MCI develop dementia due to Alzheimers within five years.
Yet some people with mild cognitive impairment never get worse, and a few actually get better. Researchers are working to understand why.
Signs of mild cognitive impairment may include:
- Forgetting things or important events
- Losing your train of thought or the thread of a conversation, book, or movie
- Having trouble making your way around a familiar place
- Becoming more impulsive or showing poor judgment
- Irritability and aggression
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What Are The Average Life Expectancy Figures For The Most Common Types Of Dementia
The average life expectancy figures for the most common types of dementia are as follows:
- Alzheimers disease around eight to 10 years. Life expectancy is less if the person is diagnosed in their 80s or 90s. A few people with Alzheimers live for longer, sometimes for 15 or even 20 years.
- Vascular dementia around five years. This is lower than the average for Alzheimers mostly because someone with vascular dementia is more likely to die from a stroke or heart attack than from the dementia itself.
- Dementia with Lewy bodies about six years. This is slightly less than the average for Alzheimers disease. The physical symptoms of DLB increase a persons risk of falls and infections.
- Frontotemporal dementia about six to eight years. If a person has FTD mixed with motor neurone disease a movement disorder, their dementia tends to progress much quicker. Life expectancy for people who have both conditions is on average about two to three years after diagnosis.
To find out about the support available to someone at the end of their life, and to their carers, family and friends, see our End of life care information.
You can also call Alzheimers Society on 0333 150 3456 for personalised advice and support on living well with dementia, at any stage.
Dementia Connect support line
Common Forms Of Dementia
There are many different forms of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form and may contribute to 60-70% of cases. Other major forms include vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies , and a group of diseases that contribute to frontotemporal dementia . Dementia may also develop after a stroke or in the context of certain infections such as HIV, harmful use of alcohol, repetitivephysical injuries to the brain or nutritional deficiencies. The boundaries between different forms of dementia are indistinct and mixed forms often co-exist.
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Five Approximate Phases Of Lewy Body Dementia
This post is about five phases of Lewy Body Dementia, according to a group of caregiver spouses.
Some members of the LBD_caringspouses Yahoo!Groups list have been working on the LBD Approximate Phases for a year now. I just received from Sue Lewis this final version of the Phases. This caregivers view of the five phases of LBD is a worthwhile document, especially for those new to the world of LBD. Theyve been working on this list on and off for so long that, at this point, they are not inviting your suggestions on how to modify the document. But they welcome any general comments ! You can send comments to me and Ill pass them on .
LBD APPROXIMATE PHASES AS SEEN BY CARING SPOUSESAugust 2007Facilitated by Sue Lewis of West Virginia, edited by June Christensen, Kansas
GLOSSARY OF ACRONYMS
ADL: Activities of Daily Living dressing/bathing/ feeding oneselfBP: Blood PressureDME: Durable Medical Equipmentwheel chair, shower chairDPOA: Durable Power of AttorneyLBD: Lewy Body Dementia
- May accuse spouse of infidelity, aggression
- Able to engage independently in leisure activities
- Handwriting is affected
- Impaired ability to handle financial responsibilities · Still may be able to work but driving skills often compromised
PHASE II POSSIBILITIES
- Ambulates/transfers without assistance but increased risk for falls/requires walker
- Leaning to one side
- Possible fainting
Is There Treatment Available
At present there is no cure for Lewy body disease. Symptoms such as depression and disturbing hallucinations can usually be reduced by medication. However, medications to relieve hallucinations may increase muscle tremors and stiffness. Conversely, anti-Parkinson drugs may make hallucinations worse.
Emerging evidence suggests that cholinesterase inhibitor drugs may be quite helpful for some people with this condition.
People with this form of dementia are very sensitive to the side effects of neuroleptic drugs such as antipsychotic medications. It is essential all medications are supervised by a specialist to avoid these severe side effects.
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