Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is a type of dementia that shares symptoms with both Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Lewy bodies are protein deposits, that develops in the brain. They generally affect movement and coordination, as well as other functions including thinking, understanding, judgement and memory. Other symptoms that might be presented include hallucinations, rigidity, depression, and overly frequent during sleep. The cause of Lewy body dementia is unknown, however, the accumulation of Lewy proteins have been associated with the disease. It is regarded as a neurodegenerative disease. This disorder is usually diagnosed on the presenting symptoms of the patient, and further evaluations are made. Other tests that could be done include blood tests and medical imaging to exclude other diseases. Diseases that share similar characteristics with Lewy body dementia are Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s. There is no cure for this disease, however, supportive treatments are given, to improve the patient’s symptoms, such as the motor and psychological symptoms. Medications that might be given include acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, antipsychotics, and so on. Patients might have to rely on the care of friends, family or caregivers, especially in the later part of the disease. Scientists are working on neural stem cells that can be implanted in the brain to treat this disease. Soon enough, people will be able to make bulk stem cell order online for the treatment of this kind of disease, and other disorders.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Dementia with Lewy bodies?
Lewy body dementia usually presents with a lot of symptoms. Below are some of the most common ones;
- Visual or Auditory hallucinations: This is one of the initial symptoms of the disease. It presents in the early stage of the disease. However, they often recur. Patients might talk about seeing strange things, such as seeing animals, or people that are not there. In addition, they can also have sound, smell and tactile hallucinations.
- Autonomic nervous system dysfunction: Some major autonomic functions are affected by the Lewy body dementia. Some of the functions affected by this disease include blood pressure, sweating and the digestive process. This eventually results in loss of balance, dizziness, and digestive problems such as constipation.
- Movement disorders: This disease affects the motor function. In addition to this, the patient might display some parkinsonian symptoms. Examples of parkinsonian symptoms include muscle rigidity, stiff limbs, tremor, and slowed movement.
- Problems with cognition: Patients also present with features that are similar to that of Alzheimer’s disease. They include confusion, lack of focus and attention, visual-spatial problems, and loss of memory.
- Disturbed Sleep: Patients tend to have regular nightmares. Also, they also experience problems associated with random eye movement sleep behaviour.
- Depression: Patients might present with depressive disorder in the course of the disease.
- Apathy: In addition to presenting with depression, they also display a lack of motivation.
- Fainting Spells or Falls: These problems can make daily activities increasingly difficult and someone with the condition may eventually be unable to look after themselves.
What Are The Causes Of Dementia with Lewy Bodies?
The exact cause of Lewy body dementia isn’t known yet, however, the disease has been linked with a gene PARK 11. Lewy body dementia often appears intermittently and doesn’t seem to have a strong hereditary link. The loss of cholinergic neurons has been said to be responsible for the neurodegeneration of cognition in patients. On the other hand, the dopaminergic neurons have been implicated in the degeneration of motor control, which is responsible for its Parkinson’s symptoms. Also, the deposition of abnormal proteins in some parts of the brain have also been noticed. These protein substances are known as Lewy bodies. Individuals with Lewy bodies in their brain also tend to have plaques and tangles, similar to what is obtained in Alzheimer’s disease.
What Are The Risk Factors For Dementia with Lewy bodies?
There are some factors that are associated with the development of Lewy body dementia. Some of these factors are;
- Age: This is the most prevalent factor in the development of Lewy body dementia. This disease tends to occur in old adults, especially people above the age of 60 years.
- Gender: Also, Lewy body dementia tends to occur more in the male gender than in the female gender.
- Family history: People who have a relative, or a sibling that has been affected by the disease usually have higher risks of developing Lewy body dementia.
- Depression: Recent studies have shown that there is a connection between Lewy body dementia and depression. Most patients affected by the disease usually have a history of depression. So there is a chance that people affected by depression have a higher chance of having the Lewy body dementia.
What Are The Complications Of Dementia with Lewy Bodies?
Lewy body dementia is a disease that progresses over time. Below are some of the common complications of the disease;
- Dementia: Patients with Lewy body dementia tend to have severe dementia. However, this occurs more in the later stage of the disease.
- Depression: Patients affected by Lewy body dementia do present with depression. There has always been some connection between depression and Lewy body dementia.
- Parkinsonian symptoms: People affected by Lewy body dementia tend to present with symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease. An example of this is a tremor.
- Balance problem: Patients also tend to fall more. This often leads to injury.
- Aggressive behavior: Patient also present with aggressive behavior. This also occurs in the later stage of the disease. The degree of the aggressiveness is directly connected with the severity of the disease.
How Is Dementia with Lewy Bodies treated?
There is no cure for Lewy body dementia yet. However supportive treatment is usually given to improve the symptoms of the patient. Medications and care must be given to the patient
- Symptomatic treatment: The focus of the treatment is usually on the motor, emotive and cognitive symptoms. The symptoms of Lewy body dementia generally do respond to medications of Parkinson’s disease. Levodopa is a typical example of a drug that works well. On the other hand, cognitive functions can be improved by using a drug such as Medicines to reduce hallucinations, confusion, drowsiness, movement problems and disturbed sleep are commonly used in Dementia with Lewy Bodies.
- Therapies: such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy for problems with movement, everyday tasks, and communication.
- Psychological therapies: such as cognitive stimulation (activities and exercises designed to improve memory, problem-solving skills and language ability)
- Dementia activities: such as memory cafés (drop-in sessions for people with memory problems and their carers to get support and advice)
Stem Cell Therapy And Dementia with Lewy Bodies.
Scientists are presently working on ways to develop neural stem cells that can be implanted in the brain, to repair and replace the damaged tissues. Stem cells have the ability to repair and replace injured tissues.
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