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Lewy body dementia: causes and phases

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

When a person reaches an advanced age they become prone to developing diseases that cause the loss of mental capacity, the best known and most common in the population is Alzheimer’s disease. However, in second place is a type of pathology that few are aware of and that tends to be confused with other disorders, Lewy body dementia.

This type of dementia can begin between 50 and 85 years of life and generally goes unnoticed in the beginning. It is possible to diagnose it when the symptoms are evident, with an average life time of between 5 to 8 years from that moment, although it can be from 2 to 20 years and frequently the cause of death is not dementia as such, but to acquire other illnesses such as infections.

As it is a disorder that progressively deteriorates the functions of neurons, there is no way to reverse the damage and mental abilities are lost, which can be a very difficult situation, both for those who suffer from it and for those who are close to them. around. However, you can lead a good quality of life and the symptoms are less obvious, so if you want to know more about dementia with Lewy bodies: causes and phases , at FastlyHealwe will inform you of everything related to the subject.

Causes of Lewy body dementia

Currently, the causes of Lewy body dementia are not yet known , nor has it been possible to determine whether there are specific risk factors for this condition, although much has been suggested about the genetic factor. There is no evidence that there are abnormalities in the genes that allow a hereditary origin, even though there are several cases of this disease in the family history.

Although it is unknown why this disease arises, it is known that people who suffer from it develop protein structures in neurons that tend to accumulate and are known as Lewy bodies, which do not exist in a healthy person.

These abnormal proteins generally occur in the cerebral cortex, which is the tissue that covers the brain and contains neurons that are involved in thinking, perception, judgment, and decision-making, and in the brain stem, which is involved in the regulation of involuntary functions, such as breathing, heart rate, sensitivity to pain, and some aspects of sound localization.

The greater the accumulation of Lewy bodies, the function of neurons becomes more difficult, since they block cellular communication and the response action after a stimulus is not transmitted, in addition they can cause the death of said cells, preventing the brain from working correctly and give the necessary commands to the system.

Phases of Lewy body dementia

Unlike other types of disorders, Lewy body dementia cannot be divided into specific phases or stages, since its evolution is variable. Although it is a disease that increases over the years, the presence of a certain symptom can be at the beginning or after several years, sporadic or recurrent and on the same day show mild and intense episodes. The final stage is only known when the affected person has severe dementia and almost total immobility. Although it also depends on the general health of the patient and if he suffers from other pathologies.

Cognitive impairment

Among the main symptoms that Lewy body dementia produces is cognitive impairment, that is, mental capacity deteriorates and problems with memory, concentration, abstract or analytical thinking, behavior, problem solving and drinking are observed. decision making. Although this damage is gradual, the episodes that occur can be momentary and vary in intensity, even on the same day, for example, being speaking normally and in an instant having trouble finding words. It is also common that there is difficulty in orienting oneself, not recognizing certain familiar places at times, not having notion of time and making use of judgment. It is usually the first symptom to appear, but this is not always the case.

Muscle tightness

The physical symptoms that are observed in this type of dementia are similar to those that occur with Parkinson’s disease, there is muscle stiffness, tremor of varying intensity and movement is difficult or slow. Therefore, a person with this dementia can be observed with a flexed posture, the movement of the arms when walking is reduced and with a heavy walk or shuffling, making them prone to falls. This physical affectation usually develops after the cognitive one; however, in 30% of the registered cases it was shown as the first symptom of the disease.

Hallucinations and delusions

Another of the important symptoms of Lewy body dementia are episodes of detailed and very real visual hallucinations, although they can also be auditory, olfactory or tactile but are less common, which do not always have to do with frightening aspects. This symptom can be frequent and appear from the beginning of the disease and during it, so it is not indicative of the degree of dementia.

Sleep behavior disorder

On the other hand, many patients with this disease have developed REM Sleep Behavior Disorder (TCSR), which consists in that while sleeping dreams are usually vivid and frightening, with loss of stiffness when sleeping, so it can have sudden movements and violent actions. Although this symptom may be present throughout the disease, it frequently appears before cognitive impairments, before the disease is diagnosed.

ICD10 code of Lewy body dementia and ICD9 code

There is no treatment to eliminate dementia with Lewy bodies, as soon as a person begins to develop these protein structures there is no way to reverse it or stop its development, the only option is treatment to alleviate the symptoms, which can include medications and therapies, to provide a better quality of life.

As it presents similar characteristics with other mental disorders and Parkinson’s disease, its diagnosis is not clear until the symptoms are more accentuated and with tests such as magnetic resonance imaging and brain tomography.

Once it has been correctly diagnosed, the doctor may recommend the use of medications to combat cognitive problems and associated disorders such as anxiety, also if necessary, he could prescribe antipsychotic drugs and reduce episodes of hallucinations, sleep problems and confusion. Administration of such drugs is only under medical supervision and order.

To reduce physical symptoms, the use of medications used for Parkinson’s is common; However, not all of them are ideal and could worsen dementia, so it should only be those that the specialist recommends and in the indicated dose.

On the other hand, physical therapies are very helpful to strengthen and regain flexibility in the body, with exercises to improve walking and speed up movement, as well as cardiovascular activities. It is important that no sudden movements or activities are made that could aggravate the situation; For this reason, it is recommended that you follow the instructions of a professional, who will give you the exercises that suit your condition.

Recommendations for patients with this type of dementia

  • It is important that the people around you are informed of the diagnosis in order to face the disease together and support each other in the decisions to be made.
  • Post a card stating that you are a Lewy body dementia patient prominently in your wallet, especially for emergencies if you are disoriented and need medical attention or other help.
  • You should never self-medicate, many drugs commonly used for similar symptoms of other diseases can cause further confusion, disorientation, delusions or hallucinations.
  • Do activities that keep you busy and help improve your mood, as well as stimulate your mental capacity.
  • Going to support groups, preferably accompanied by the people who are with you, will help you feel better and find ways to reduce daily frustrations.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Dementia with Lewy bodies: causes and phases , we recommend that you enter our category of Mental Disorders .

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