Dementia with Lewy Bodies

DLB is not rare. It affects about 1.4 million individuals and their families in the United States. Because symptoms can closely resemble other diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, DLB is widely underdiagnosed. Many doctors or other medical professionals still are not familiar with DLB.

DLB is the second most common of the diseases that cause dementia. Only Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is more common than DLB.

DLB is like a combination of AD and Parkinson’s disease. Like AD, DLB causes mental symptoms, like confusion and problems with memory. DLB can cause early problems with attention, problem solving, and spatial awareness. Significant memory loss occurs later in DLB than in AD. Like Parkinson’s disease, people with DLB may have trouble with slow movement, including trouble walking.

Certain symptoms are more common in DLB than in any other disease that causes dementia. Vivid visual hallucinations, swinging between alertness and confusion, acting out dreams when asleep, and being unusually stiff and slow in moving are all common signs of DLB.

It is important to know that people with DLB can be highly sensitive to certain medications (like those often used for hallucinations), with unpleasant or even fatal outcomes.

The good news is that people with LBD may respond better to some dementia medications than people with AD. Also, non-medical approaches, such as a daily routine, physical activity where possible, and changes to the environment, can all help manage daily life with DLB.

For these reasons, people with DLB should work closely with physicians who have experience diagnosing and treating DLB.

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Memory Care Center

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