Dementia is a cognitive disease that affects memory and thought-processing ability. It is degenerative and also leads to a decline in physical ability. There are different types of dementia and different causes. This post focuses on the Lewy Body branch of dementia and the early warning signs to look out for.
What is Lewy Body Dementia?
The cause of dementia is not always certain but, Lewy Body Disease is caused by a protein build-up. This protein forms in clumps around the brain and interferes with normal cognitive activity. Which then in turn begins the decline of function in the mind and the body. Below are the top red flags to observe.
Hallucinations are figments of the imagination that exist only in the mind of the individual experiencing them. These visions feel very real and can be frightening and disorientating. They are also one of the first indicators that something is amiss and Lewy Body proteins may be present in the brain.
If LBD is taking hold of the brain, there will be a noticeable fluctuation in movement capacity. This may come and go on a sporadic basis. Changes in movement are things like:
- Slower walking pace
- Difficulty getting out of a chair or standing up from a sitting position
- Dexterity deterioration, for example, hand and finger movements doing simple tasks such as brushing hair or buttoning up a shirt.
- Struggle to maintain balance, which leads to a clumsy appearance and an increased fall risk.
- Posture can also be affected leading to a stoop, or bent-over stance.
The key behavioral changes to look for include interrupted or distorted thought processes, trouble in understanding or keeping up with a conversation, and a decreased level of awareness with regards to external sources such as potential danger. Any sense of ability to plan or organize daily life or activities stops alongside the capacity to multitask. Another characteristic commonly associated with other types of dementia is memory loss. With LBD, short-term memory is one of the last things to be affected, and in its place, there is a decline in general cognizance instead.
REM and general sleep can also be impacted. Symptoms synonymous with Lewy Body Dementia are the physical acting out of REM brain activity aka dreams. Restlessness is also cited and a general decay of energy owing to night-time struggles.
Is There a Cure for Lewy Body Dementia?
No. There is no cure for LBD, but there are medications to alleviate and improve the symptoms. They are a delay and relieve tactic and cannot rectify after the protein has taken hold. Memory care can also help patients with Lewy Body Disease.
LBD is a cruel thing, much like other types of dementia. There is no way to fix it and it causes a gradual decline over a long period of time. Other symptoms may interact to cause further complications, but with early intervention, the effects can be managed and slowed for a little while.