A hallmark of Lewy body dementia is a strong surge in mental and physical decline. Because a person can also have the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Think of shaking body parts, stiffness and a different way of walking.
In a person with so-called Lewy body dementia, Lewy bodies are located in the nerve cells in the brains. These are special protein deposits. Researchers think that these Lewy bodies arise when a brain cell is at risk, for example because a toxic substance is present. In Lewy body dementia, the abnormalities are mainly in the cerebral cortex. Lewy body dementia is not inherited in the vast majority of cases.
Symptoms Lewy body dementia
Someone with Lewy body dementia has no memory problems or difficulty performing actions at first. Often it is striking that someone gets attention disorders. Someone can also get visual hallucinations: he sees things that are not there. This makes it more difficult to recognize this form of dementia.
An additional problem is that people with Lewy body dementia are often very sensitive to the side effects of the drugs against hallucinations.
The course of Lewy body dementia is less clear to sketch. The disease has not been known for very long, and the symptoms appear to be partially related to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. The decline in Lewy body dementia is usually faster than with Alzheimer’s.
Course of Lewy body dementia
In the course of time the physical complaints become worse. People with Lewy body dementia suffer from gait disorders, cramps and stiffness (similar to Parkinson’s).
The spatial insight decreases, which, for example, leads to reduced sense of direction and the inability to properly estimate distances. Many people with Lewy body dementia suffer from very vivid dreams, hallucinations and delusions. These can be very frightening.
The behavioral changes are also becoming clearer. Sometimes, the personality changes completely, certain characteristics are magnified. For most people, they are less able to control their emotions. They can become angry and restless and scream unexpectedly.
At the last stage, people with Lewy body dementia are receding more and more. They gradually lose their orientation on the world around them.
Life expectancy of Lewy body dementia
Most people with Lewy body die five to twelve years after the diagnosis.