What Are The Types Of Lewy Body Dementia
The two types of Lewy body dementia dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson’s disease dementia are caused by the same underlying changes in the brain. Over time, these conditions may result in similar symptoms. The main difference is the timing of when thinking and movement symptoms begin.
In dementia with Lewy bodies, problems with thinking, unpredictable changes in attention and alertness, and visual hallucinations develop early in relation to movement symptoms, such as slow movement, difficulty walking, and muscle stiffness.
In Parkinson’s disease dementia, movement symptoms start first and are consistent with a diagnosis of Parkinsons disease. Later, problems with thinking and changes in mood and behavior develop. However, not everyone with Parkinsons disease will develop dementia.
It’s important to know which type of LBD a person has, both to tailor treatment to symptoms and to understand how the disease will likely progress. For example, some people with LBD may not experience significant movement problems, such as frequent falls and shaking, for several years, while others may have them early on. Knowing what to expect can help people with LBD and their families prepare for changes that may need to be made, for example, to help prevent falls.
Lewy Body Dementia Signs And Symptoms
There are many signs and symptoms of LBD. A major hallmark is cognitive impairment. It is defined in the most recent version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as cognitive decline in one or more areas . People with problems in these areas might be forgetful, have problems paying attention, have trouble with problem-solving, be unable to learn new facts or skills, have difficulty with speaking or forming sentences, or have behavioral changes. These symptoms can range from mild to major, and in order to make the diagnosis, they must significantly impair a persons day-to-day functioning.
Cognitive impairment isnt the only hallmark of LBD. People with dementia with Lewy bodies and PDD may present very differently because of how the Lewy bodies deposit in the brain.
Dementia with Lewy bodies is characterized by three main features, according to the DSM-5:
- Problems with cognition
- Visual hallucinations
- Spontaneous features of parkinsonism , which begin after the cognitive symptoms appear
Other features that can suggest dementia with Lewy bodies are:
- Rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder
- Sensitivity to antipsychotic medications
PDD symptoms are similar, but the timing is different. The important difference is that in PDD, parkinsonian movement symptoms start before cognitive symptoms and dementia appear.
Hallmark symptoms of both diseases include:
What Happens In Dlb
People with DLB may have trouble focusing, remembering things, staying awake during the day, or staying asleep at night. They may become more frustrated or confused because of the lack of sleep. They may also hallucinate and see people, objects, or animals that are not there.
Some people with DLB will need help with walking, while others may have hunched posture or trouble using their hands and feet because of stiff muscles. People with DLB may appear to be better and need less help on some days, only to become worse and more confused again and need more help the next day or in a few days. This is because their energy level and focus will vary.
DLB is a disease that changes with time. A person with DLB can live for many years with the disease. Research suggests that a person with DLB may live an average of 57 years with the disease, although this can vary from person to person.
Also Check: Zhichan Capsule
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Lewy Body Dementia
The most common symptoms of LBD include changes in thinking abilities, movement, sleep, and behavior. The degree of symptoms can vary widely and people with LBD may not have every symptom. Common symptoms include:
- Trouble with attention, planning, multitasking, problem-solving, and reasoning. Memory problems are also common but may not be noticeable early on.
- Problems with visual and spatial abilities, such as judging distance and depth or misidentifying objects.
- Unpredictable changes in concentration, attention, alertness, and wakefulness.
- Visual hallucinations, which occur in up to 80% of people with LBD, often early on.
- Movement changes, such as tremor or muscle stiffness, known as parkinsonism.
- Sleep disorders, including rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder in which a person seems to act out dreams while asleep, excessive sleep or lack of sleep, and restless leg syndrome.
- Depression, lack of interest, anxiety, ideas not based in reality, and other changes in mental health.
- Sensitivity to heat and cold, dizziness, poor sense of smell, and other changes in automatic functions of the body.
Individuals with mild symptoms can often function close to normally. As the disease progresses and thinking and movement abilities decline, people with LBD will need more help and may depend on caregivers full time.
Parkinson’s Disease Dementia And Dementia With Lewy Bodies
The key pathological hallmark found in brains of Parkinson’s disease and Parkinson’s disease dementia patients are abnormal microscopic deposits composed of alpha-synuclein. This protein is found widely in the brain but its normal function is not yet well understood. The deposits are called “Lewy bodies”. Lewy bodies are also found in several other neurodegenerative brain disorders, including dementia with Lewy bodies . Evidence suggests that Parkinson’s disease and Parkinson’s disease dementia, and dementia with Lewy bodies, may be linked to the same underlying abnormalities in brain processing of alpha-synuclein.
Recommended Reading: What Foods Should Be Avoided When Taking Levodopa
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
Lewy Body Dementia Vs Parkinsons Disease Dementia
Diagnoses of Lewy body dementia include dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinsons disease dementia. Symptoms in both of these diagnoses can be similar.
Lewy body dementia is a progressive dementia caused by abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein in the brain. Lewy bodies are also seen in Parkinsons disease.
The overlap in symptoms between Lewy body dementia and Parkinsons disease dementia include movement symptoms, rigid muscles, and problems with thinking and reasoning.
This seems to indicate that they could be linked to the same abnormalities, though more research is needed to confirm that.
The later stages of Parkinsons disease have more severe symptoms that may require help moving around, around-the-clock care, or a wheelchair. Quality of life can decline rapidly.
Risks of infection, incontinence, pneumonia, falls, insomnia, and choking increase.
Hospice care, memory care, home health aides, social workers, and support counselors can be a help in later stages.
Parkinsons disease itself isnt fatal, but complications can be.
Research has shown a median survival rate of about
Read Also: Prayer For Parkinson’s Disease
Diagnosis: Parkinson’s Dementia Or Dementia With Lewy Bodies
During assessment, a specialist may look at when the dementia symptoms first appeared before reaching a diagnosis of Parkinson’s dementia or dementia with Lewy bodies.
If there have been motor symptoms for at least one year before dementia symptoms occur, specialists will often give a diagnosis of Parkinson’s dementia.
If dementia symptoms occur before or at the same time as motor symptoms, specialists will usually give a diagnosis of dementia with Lewy bodies.
However, it should be noted that in some cases of dementia with Lewy bodies, no motor symptoms develop at all.
Theres no single test – diagnosis is made through several different assessments, usually starting with an appointment with your GP or Parkinson’s nurse.
Some people find it helps to go to the appointment with someone who knows them well, who can give the GP or Parkinson’s nurse information about changes they’ve noticed.
Your GP can discuss your symptoms with you and carry out a physical examination, including blood and urine tests, to rule out other potential causes of the symptoms .
Your GP may also review your medication, in case your symptoms are side effects.
If your GP thinks you have dementia, they can refer you to a specialist, such as a neurologist, psychiatrist or geriatrician.
You might be referred to a memory clinic or memory service. In some areas of the country, you can refer yourself to these services.
But if you feel you need to see the specialist again, you can ask to be referred back.
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.
Don’t Miss: Does Sam Waterston Have Parkinsons
What Are The Causes Of Lewy Body Dementia
The precise cause of LBD is unknown, but scientists are learning more about its biology and genetics. For example, we know that an accumulation of Lewy bodies is associated with a loss of certain neurons in the brain that produce two important chemicals that act as messengers between brain cells . One of these messengers, acetylcholine, is important for memory and learning. The other, dopamine, plays an important role in behavior, cognition, movement, motivation, sleep, and mood.
Scientists are also learning about risk factors for LBD. A risk factor is something that may increase the chance of developing a disease. Some risk factors can be controlled while others cannot. Age is considered the greatest risk factor. No specific lifestyle factor has been proven to increase one’s risk for LBD.
Other known risk factors for LBD include certain diseases and health conditions, particularly Parkinson’s disease and REM sleep behavior disorder, which have been linked to a higher risk of LBD.
Having a family member with LBD also may increase a person’s risk, though LBD is not considered a genetic disease. Variants in three genes APOE, SNCA, and GBA have been associated with an increased risk, but in most cases, the cause is unknown.
Wait So What Is Parkinsonism
Parkinsonism refers to the motor symptoms that are typically associated with PD, such as tremors, stiffness, and walking/balance problems. Both PD and LBD are forms of Parkinsonism, meaning that PD patients and LBD patients may experience these motor symptoms.2 Because the Parkinsonism motor symptoms of PD and LBD can be very similar, it can be difficult to differentiate between the two conditions.
Recommended Reading: Parkinson Silverware
Dementia With Lewy Bodies : What Is It And What Causes It
Dementia with Lewy bodies is a type of dementia caused by Lewy bodies, which are clumps of protein in the cells of the brain. Read more about what DLB is, and who gets the condition.
Dementia with Lewy bodies
Causes Of Lewy Body Dementia
LBDs are poorly understood but are thought to be characterized by the buildup of Lewy bodies in the brain. Lewy bodies are groupings or clumps of badly formed proteins called alpha-synuclein proteins. Healthy alpha-synuclein proteins are normally found widely throughout the brain and are thought to play many roles, including participating in plasticity. This means that they affect how brain cells communicate with one another and change in response to a persons experience. However, when these proteins misfold and accumulate, the result is Lewy bodies, which lead to cell death in the brain.
The type of LBD a person has is determined by where in the brain the Lewy bodies first begin forming. When Lewy bodies first begin to form in the cortex, dementia with Lewy bodies is the most likely result. These initial protein deposits in the cortex lead to early cognitive changes, such as inattention. When the Lewy bodies first deposit in areas of the brain more related to motor control and movement, such as the substantia nigra, PDD is the most likely result.
But what causes these Lewy bodies to form in the first place?
Genetics or hereditary elements likely play a role. The following genes are thought to be involved in the spectrum of disorders related to PD, including dementia with Lewy bodies and PDD.
Also Check: Parkinson’s Bike Therapy
Apda In Your Community
Here are two common scenarios that may sound familiar:
Scenario 1A patient develops a series of neurologic symptoms, is evaluated by a neurologist and is told that she has Parkinsons disease . She then visits another neurologist for a second opinion and is told she has Lewy Body Dementia .
Scenario 2A patient has his first visit with his neurologist and is told that he has PD, at a subsequent visit the diagnosis is changed to Parkinsons disease dementia , and at a follow up visit the diagnosis is changed yet again to Dementia with Lewy Bodies .
Both of these situations understandably cause great uncertainty and frustration.
Memory And Thinking Problems
You may experience forgetfulness, slowed thinking and difficulty concentrating. You might find it harder to follow conversations, and remember some words and names. This can make communication difficult.
You may also find it increasingly difficult to make decisions, plan activities and solve problems. This can make everyday activities harder.
Also Check: Weighted Silverware
What Is Parkinsons Disease
PD is a chronic, neurodegenerative movement disorder. PD affects 1 out of every 100 individuals over the age of 601, and patients commonly experience muscle rigidity, changes in speech and walking, and tremors. Some studies suggest that having PD also increases your risk of developing LBD, but most patients have only one of these conditions.2
Lewy Bodies And Parkinsons Disease
A person with Parkinsons disease may develop dementia and have problems with reasoning and thinking. Lewy bodies are a feature of several brain disorders, including Parkinsons disease and Alzheimers disease, and they may cause rigid muscles and problems with movement and posture.
Research suggests that the similarity of the symptoms of Parkinsons disease and Lewy body dementia may be indicative of a shared link to how the brain processes alpha-synuclein.
It is not possible to test for the presence of Lewy bodies, so researchers must try to determine their effects by carrying out postmortem studies.
There is currently no cure for dementia. However, medication can alleviate the symptoms, while a team of medical professionals and therapists may help a person develop strategies to manage their daily activities.
Don’t Miss: Parkinson’s Double Vision
Causes Of Dementia With Lewy Bodies
Dementia with Lewy bodies is caused by clumps of protein forming inside brain cells. These abnormal deposits are called Lewy bodies.
These deposits are also found in people with Parkinson’s disease, and they build up in areas of the brain responsible for functions such as thinking, visual perception and muscle movement.
It’s not clear why the deposits develop and how exactly they damage the brain. It’s thought that part of the problem is the proteins affecting the brain’s normal functions by interfering with signals sent between brain cells.
Dementia with Lewy bodies usually occurs in people with no family history of the condition, although there have been very rare cases that seem to run in families.
Lewy Body Dementia & Parkinsons Dementia
Lewy Body Dementia is another form of dementia that causes changes in thinking, behavior, and movement. LBD is caused by abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein in the brain. These deposits, called Lewy bodies, can lead to problems with thinking, movement, behavior, and mood. For example, symptoms may include changes in alertness and attention, hallucinations, tremor, muscle stiffness, sleep problems, and memory loss.
The two types of Lewy Body Dementia are:
- Dementia with Lewy bodies, in which cognitive symptoms appear within a year of movement problems
- Parkinsons disease dementia, in which cognitive problems develop more than a year after the onset of movement problems
Lewy body dementia can be hard to diagnose because Parkinsons disease and Alzheimers disease cause similar symptoms. Scientists think that LBD might be related to these diseases, or that they sometimes happen together.
What treatments are available?
Beyond medications, its important to stay mentally, socially, and physically active to help with cognition. Learn more about ways to optimize your brain health from AARPs Global Council on Brain Health. Research has shown physical exercise, a heart-healthy diet, limiting alcohol intake, getting good sleep, mood management, and staying socially and mentally active, to all optimize brain health.
Also Check: On And Off Phenomenon
Behavioral And Mood Symptoms Of Lewy Body Dementia
Changes in behavior and mood are possible in LBD and may worsen as the persons thinking abilities decline. These changes may include:
- Apathy, or a lack of interest in normal daily activities or events and less social interaction
- Anxiety and related behaviors, such as asking the same questions over and over or being angry or fearful when a loved one is not present
- Agitation, or restlessness, and related behaviors, such as pacing, hand wringing, an inability to get settled, constant repeating of words or phrases, or irritability
- Delusions, or strongly held false beliefs or opinions not based on evidence. For example, a person may think his or her spouse is having an affair or that relatives long dead are still living.
- Paranoia, or an extreme, irrational distrust of others, such as suspicion that people are taking or hiding things