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Why Does Lewy Body Dementia Cause Death

So What Is The Disease That Took Bill Buckner’s Life

Why Does Dementia Cause Death?

Former Boston Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner has died at the age of 69. The cause of death was Lewy body dementia. Buckner’s wife, Jody, confirmed his death saying: “After battling the disease of Lewy Body Dementia, Bill Buckner passed away early the morning of May 27th surrounded by his family. Bill fought with courage and grit as he did all things in life. Our hearts are broken but we are at peace knowing he is in the arms of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Although Buckner was an accomplished player, having played 22 seasons in the majors, winning a batting title in 1980 and being an All-Star, Buckner’s legacy was darkened by a single error made in his career — a ball passed through his legs allowing the New York Mets to win Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. The Mets went on to win Game 7 as well, denying the Red Sox a chance to break the 1918 World Series “Curse of the Bambino.”

Although his teammates didn’t blame Buckner for the loss, fans were not as generous. “When that ball went through Bill Buckner’s legs, hundreds of thousands of people did not just view that as an error, they viewed that as something he had done to them personally,” longtime Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan once said.

After the Red Sox won their second World Series in 2008, Buckner was welcomed back to throw the ceremonial first pitch. He received a two-minute long standing ovation from fans in the stands.

What is Lewy Body Dementia?

Diagnosing LBD on Clinical Symptoms Alone

Risk Factors For Oxygen Deprivation

Cerebral hypoxia has a variety of potential causesâanything that interferes with the body’s ability to process and distribute oxygen could lead to deprivation in the brain. This could include:

  • Severe asthma attacks
  • Chronic work in a nitrogen-rich environment
  • Extremely high altitude without a pressurization mechanism
  • Choking or strangulation
  • Chronic smoke inhalation
  • Crushing of the trachea

Any situation in which you are unable to breathe normally can lead to cerebral hypoxia and eventual brain damage, which in turn can increase your risk for developing a form of dementia.

Lewy Body Dementia Causes Symptoms And Treatments

Lewy body dementia is one of the most common forms of dementia. The Lewy Body Dementia Association estimates that the;brain disorder makes up nearly 20 percent of dementia cases worldwide. Robin Williams, who was initially misdiagnosed with depression, was diagnosed with the disease after his death. Lewy body dementia is sometimes described as a combination of Alzheimers disease and Parkinsons. But researchers recently discovered that the disease has a unique genetic profile. Those with LBD have some genes that are linked to Alzheimers. Nevertheless, its genetic profile differed from those with other forms of dementia.

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How Long Can A Dementia Patient Live Without Eating

When a dementia patient is no longer consuming fluids, and particularly if theyre bedridden, they may only live between a few days or at most a few short weeks.

Generally, when a patient is in the dying process they lose their appetite and sense of thirst.

While people can generally survive longer without eating than they would without drinking, a bedridden patient whos not consuming sufficient food or drink in this last stage is unlikely to survive.

Are There Any Treatments For Dementia

Lewy Body Dementia  Third Most Common Form of Dementia ...

At this time there is no treatment for dementia. There is only medical care that can help manage symptoms and support people through their gradual decline.;

The options for proper medical care with the diagnosis often include specialty caregivers, individual and family support groups, healthy diet and exercise, and frequent check-ins with your doctor.;

Depending on which stage of dementia you or your loved one is in, the level of care required will vary. Someone in the earlier stages might need little to no care if symptoms are mild and not affecting daily life.

On the other hand, someone in the final stages of dementia will most certainly require 24/7 caregiving and constant supervision. If they dont have the proper care they need to avoid a risk factor such as choking or falling, it could lead to death.;

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Alzheimers Disease Or Dementia

Many people wonder what the difference is between Alzheimers disease and dementia.

Dementia is an overall term for a particular group of symptoms. The characteristic symptoms of dementia are difficulties with memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking skills that affect a persons ability to perform everyday activities. Dementia has many causes . Alzheimers disease is the most common cause of dementia.

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How Exactly Is Lewy Body Dementia Related To Alzheimers Disease And Parkinsons Disease

Lewy body dementia is a broad, general term for dementia in which lewy bodies are present in the brain. Dementia with lewy bodies and Parkinsons disease dementia are two related clinical disorders that make up the general broader category of Lewy body dementia. Sometimes LBD is first diagnosed as Parkinsons disease or Alzheimers disease based on its symptoms.

  • Parkinsons disease dementia : You might be diagnosed with Parkinsons disease if you start out with a movement disorder typical to Parkinsons but then have your diagnosis changed to PDD when dementia symptoms develop.
  • Alzheimers disease : You might start out with memory or cognitive disorder that leads to a diagnosis of AD. Over time, other distinctive symptoms begin to appear and your diagnosis is then changed to dementia with lewy bodies. Distinctive symptoms of LBD include the changes in attention, alertness and cognitive ability; changes in walking and movement; visual hallucinations; REM sleep behavior disorder and severe sensitivity to some antipsychotics used to treat hallucinations.

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Why Is It Difficult To Diagnose Lewy Body Dementia

Lewy body dementia’s similarities to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s pose a challenge for doctors.;

Because early symptoms of DLB are similar to Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease dementia akin to Parkinson’s, individuals often get diagnosed with the more common disorder as opposed to LBD.

“It can take quite some time to get the correct diagnosis and it is not unusual, unfortunately, for it to take 1 to 3 years,” Loeb said.

Loeb points out that it is key for family members of patients to keep track of all symptoms, as even unexpected symptoms are often linked to LBD. In the case of Robin Williams, Schneider Williams pointed out that “a sudden ad prolonged spike in fear and anxiety can be an early indication of LBD.”

Dementia Affects Brain Areas Associated With Swallowing

What Is Lewy Body Dementia?

Inability to swallow food is termed as dysphagia. The prevalence of dysphagia among elderly can be as high as 40 percent. This percentage is even higher among people with dementia .

But why is that?

Different types of dementia eventually lead to the shrinkage of the parts of the brain that coordinate swallowing. Consequently, the patients find it extremely hard to swallow as their disease progresses.

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Buckners Death Puts New Focus On Lewy Body Dementiaa Relatively Unknown But Surprisingly Prevalent Disease

The recent death of former Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner has once again raised the public profile of Lewy body dementia , a common but still frequently misdiagnosed form of neurodegenerative disease.

LBD, which affects more than 1.3 million people in the United States, surged into the public spotlight in 2016 when Susan Schneider Williams, the wife of the late Robin Williams, revealed that the actor and comedian had been diagnosed with Lewy body dementia in the months prior to committing suicide in 2014.

What is Lewy Body Dementia?

Stephen Gomperts, MD, PhD, a physician-investigator in the Department of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital, explains that LBD is actually an umbrella term for two different diseasesone is dementia with Lewy bodies and the other is Parkinsons disease with dementia, which afflicts about 30% of people with Parkinsons disease .

LBD is the second most common cause of progressive dementia after Alzheimers disease.

Clinically, patients with LBD develop progressive trouble thinking that interferes with their activities of daily living, as well as progressive motor impairments including motor slowing, tremor, rigidity and walking changes.

The cognitive challenges experienced by LBD patients often differ from the more commonly known symptoms of Alzheimers disease. In Alzheimers, patients develop an early problem with short term memory, and over time other thinking problems start to accrue.

Treatment Options

Are There Other Symptoms Of Lewy Body Dementia

LBD may also lead to issues like constipation, fainting, loss of a sense of smell or changes in body temperature. In addition, researchers predict that about 17 percent of people with LBD have Capgras syndrome. Capgras syndrome occurs when someone mistakes their caregiver or loved one for an imposter.

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What Complications Are Associated With Medications Used To Treat Lewy Body Dementia

Up to 50% of people living with Lewy body dementia can have severe side effects when treated with certain antipsychotic medications. These are known as the typical or traditional antipsychotics and include such drugs as thoridazine, haloperidol, chlorpromazine and perphenazine. This class of older, first-generation antipsychotics can cause sedation and make cognitive symptoms and movement problems worse. A life-threatening reaction to an antipsychotic medication, called neuroleptic malignant syndrome, is possible. Symptoms include rigid muscles, changing blood pressure, high fever, confusion and fast heart rate. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you or your loved are taking an antipsychotic and develop these symptoms.

Visual hallucinations and behavioral changes may be treated with the newer, atypical antipsychotic medications pimavanserin , quetiapine or clozapine . However, because all antipsychotic medications both older, typical medications and newer atypical medications can increase the risk of death in elderly patients with dementia, you and your healthcare provider should carefully discuss the risks and benefits and using these medications.

Other medications, like antidepressants or sedative antihistamines, may increase confusion in people with LBD.

Stage Four: Moderate Cognitive Decline

Why do people with Lewy Body Dementia just stop walking ...

Many people living with dementia are officially diagnosed during;stage four, which is when physicians are able to pinpoint cognitive decline with an exam. At this point, the patient will likely present symptoms such as life-disrupting forgetfulness and out-of-character difficulty performing daily responsibilities. It may become more challenging for those with stage four dementia to manage finances or navigate to new locations.

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Looking More Closely At Lewy Body Dementia

The type of dementia that actor Robin Williams had is a complex disease with ambiguous symptoms. What doctors and patients need to know and what progress is being made.

Lewy body dementia, the third most common form of dementia, perhaps accounting for up to 20 percent of cases, remains a mystery.

Symptoms can overlap with those of other conditions, which might lead to misdiagnosis or potentially harmful medications. And it can be tough to detect through blood tests or brain scans with the only official confirmation, a brain biopsy, unfeasible until death.

That leaves doctors to connect the dots to identify Lewy body dementia.

For families and physicians alike, theres a lot of emotional turmoil, says Henry Paulson, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of neurology at the University of Michigan and the director of the Alzheimers Disease Center at U-M.

In 2014, the suicide of actor Robin Williams, who was later revealed to have the disease, put the condition in the spotlight.

Raising awareness, too, is the Carl Rinne Lewy Body Dementia Initiative at U-M. Established in January, a primary goal of the effort named in honor of the retired Ann Arbor professor and musician who died from the disease is, Paulson says, to really educate the public and health care professionals.

Paulson spoke recently about the disease.

What causes Lewy body dementia?

But we dont yet know how that aggregation contributes to psychiatric and cognitive problems.

How might a doctor first spot trouble?

My Father And Lewy Body Dementia An Essay By Jane Sigaloff

As Lewy Body Dementia Awareness Week 2021 gets underway, we are delighted to publish a special essay by Jane Sigaloff.; ;Jane is a published author and in this powerful piece she describes the range of emotions she experienced during her fathers Lewy body dementia journey.; Peter was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia in 2015 and died in 2019 at the age of 76.; In the essay Jane paints a picture of her father before his illness, and documents the impact that Lewy body dementia had on their whole family.

An edited version of this essay appeared online and in print edition of the Daily Telegraph.

My father and Lewy body dementia Jane Sigaloff

There has been a lot of talk of menopause in the media recently, about bringing it out of the shadows, removing the stigma. Mental illness is no longer taboo. Cancer has been out of the closet for a while. Dementia on the other hand is still not really socially acceptable. People dont know what to say and so they say nothing. Its the British way.

In 2015 dementia overtook heart disease and stroke as the UKs biggest cause of death. Annual death statistics for England and Wales show the number of people dying of dementia steadily increasing year on year. Most people have heard of Alzheimers Disease but almost nobody has heard of the second most common form: Lewy body dementia .

In 2020 we rediscovered the value and importance of our communities be they friends, neighbours, schools or families.


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Towards The End Of Life

It can be very difficult for family and carers to prepare for the end, but by thinking about it and making some plans, it may be a little easier. When someone reaches the final stages of life one of the main concerns is to ensure that they are comfortable and as pain free as possible. If you are concerned that the person with dementia may be in some pain or discomfort, discuss this with the doctor and nursing staff.;

Stage : Mild Cognitive Impairment

What is Lewy Body Dementia?

Clear cognitive problems begin to manifest in stage 3. A few signs of stage 3 dementia include:

  • Getting lost easily
  • Noticeably poor performance at work
  • Forgetting the names of family members and close friends
  • Difficulty retaining information read in a book or passage
  • Losing or misplacing important objects
  • Difficulty concentrating

Patients often start to experience mild to moderate anxiety as these symptoms increasingly interfere with day to day life. Patients who may be in this stage of dementia are encouraged to have a clinical interview with a clinician for proper diagnosis.

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Lack Of Family Understanding

Multiple participants described challenges arising from family member lack of understanding. Physician validation of accurate assessments was particularly important in these circumstances.

We had weekly conference calls with my mother, my sister, and I. I would go down to the unit and sit with the doctor and the social worker and then we would all be on a call together. And he would describe what was going on and- and my mother said, “Well, is explaining this, but I think she’s just being dramatic.” And the doctor said, “No, she’s being really accurate of what’s taking place now.

In hindsight, I really wish that, at the very beginning, at the get-go of when things started to unravel and go down the steep decline, when we started hospice, I wish that we had done a conference call.had the hospice doctor explain to all of my siblings what was going on with her, where she was at, what to expect, timeframe, that kinda thingInstead, you know, I get the information and itsas a caregiver, youre already extremely like fatigued and its hard, hard to remember all that. And its just overwhelming. And so, it would have been better, I think, had we done that. I had a sibling that was in denial that my mom was gonna die. You know, it would havethat would have just helped to say yes, this is true.

Many Symptoms Much Confusion

When I give a Lewy body dementia diagnosis, I often review a symptom checklist with people with Lewy body dementia and their families. This shows how many different problems low blood pressure, constipation, thinking changes, anxiety, paranoia and more can relate to this disease.

If you or a loved one recognizes these symptoms, it is important to seek a medical evaluation. There is currently no cure for Lewy body dementia. But there are treatments to help many of the problems people experience with this disease. At our center, we use an interdisciplinary approach to treatment, including medications, physical, occupational and speech therapy, consultations with dietitians, and social work.

Getting a diagnosis can also be helpful for other reasons. Research suggests most people want a diagnosis. Benefits of having a specific dementia diagnosis include understanding what is happening, receiving validation that something is wrong, improving family patience with the person living with dementia, planning for the future, establishing a treatment plan and connecting to resources. The Lewy Body Dementia Association , Lewy Body Dementia Resource Center and Alzheimers Association are some of the organizations helping people living with Lewy body dementia and their families.

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What To Do If Your Loved One Has Dementia

It can be extremely difficult to watch someone you care about slowly lose themselves over time to dementia. Worldwide, there still tends to be some major misunderstandings about what exactly dementia is and how it affects people. Unfortunately, every type of dementia not only affects the individual diagnosed with it but their family members and loved ones as well.;

If your loved one has dementia, being aware of what to expect is the first step. Coming to terms with the disease is necessary for your loved one and your well-being.;

Seeking the professional care your loved one needs is crucial as it can keep them as comfortable as possible throughout all stages of dementia. Up until death, its important to appreciate as many moments as possible while they are still here and functioning.

Although dementia is fatal, there are plenty of healthcare and support resources to ensure you and your family enjoy the remaining lifespan of the dementia patient to the best of your ability.;


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