What is Lewy Body Dementia?
The recent revelation that actor and comedian Robin Williams suffered from dementia with Lewy bodies has brought attention to this form of dementia that is not well known and is often difficult to diagnose. Early onset symptoms can appear similar to Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, but proper diagnosis can allow for better treatment. There is no cure for Lewy body dementia, but appropriate medications, skilled caregiving, and a better understanding of the disease are important to everyone affected.
Lewy body dementia (LBD) affects roughly 1.4 million Americans, according to the Mayo Clinic. In patients with LBD, there is an accumulation of abnormal proteins called Lewy bodies throughout the brain. LBD can lead to cognitive decline, rapidly changing attentiveness and alertness, hallucinations, and motor symptoms similar to those observed in Parkinson’s patients. It may also cause sleep disturbances and visual changes.
People with LBD will need care and understanding from their loved ones. They will likely experience swings in abilities and cognition allowing for good days and bad days, and the level of care they require may seem to fluctuate. Hallucinations and declining cognition can lead to misperceptions and difficulty communicating, so it is important for people with LBD to be under the care of a physician and for families and friends to look for help from qualified memory care providers when needed.
If you are concerned that someone you love might have Lewy body dementia, please discuss symptoms with a healthcare professional.
To learn more about LBD, visit the website of the Lewy Body Dementia Association.
For questions about quality, caring memory care at Parc Provence, contact us today.