What is Lewy Body Dementia? Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments - BoomersHub Blog (2023)

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Last Updated on August 12, 2022 by ashley.davis

What is Lewy Body Dementia? Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Lewy body dementia (LBD) is a type of progressive disease that has affected more than a million Americans, according to the Lewy Body Dementia Association. Over time, it destroys brain cells and can be life-threatening if the symptoms go untreated.

If you have seen a person with LBD, you would know that they start forgetting things and often lose track of what they were doing. Then after a while, their movements or motor abilities will also take a hit. As a result, they experience frequent falls, sleeping problems, mood swings, and similar symptoms.

Lewy body dementia often gets linked with multiple mental disorders because of the overlapping symptoms. However, LBD can exist alone or with other brain diseases and may need separate care and treatment plans. Many dementia patients with Lewy bodies might require moving to a nursing home or memory care facility.

So, how can you recognize it? And how to get help if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with LBD?

What is Lewy Body Dementia?

Lewy body dementia is a disorder that affects the brain, leading to problems with thinking, moving, and overall mental ability. The disease can result from an excessive release of alpha-synuclein protein in the brain. These protein deposits are called Lewy bodies and are believed to be one of the root causes of dementia.

The Lewy body protein deposit, the leading cause of LBD disorder, has been linked to the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s. LBD is the most common form of dementia after Alzheimer’s. Therefore, many memory care patients who get admitted with dementia symptoms later may get diagnosed with LBD.

LBD develops over time and starts creeping up as time passes by. There are different stages of Lewy body dementia and often require a comprehensive treatment approach. LBD has a wide variety of symptoms, including changes in mood, problems with movement and balance, visual hallucinations, and cognitive decline.

What is the Cause of Lewy body dementia?

The actual cause of Lew body dementia is still unknown, and research is ongoing to figure out its origin and genetics. However, it is known that Lewy bodies cause the loss of certain neurons and chemicals that enable brain cells to communicate. One of those chemicals is acetylcholine, essential for memory and learning. The other one, dopamine, is a crucial component for cognition, movement, and behavior issues. So, the loss of these chemicals causes an imbalance in the brain and overall body function.

There are some risk factors associated with LBD, and among them, age is a significant concern. Older adults aged 60 or more are at higher risk of developing the disease than younger ones. Also, gendercan play a role since men are at a greater risk of having LBD than women. Besides, people who have Parkinson’s disease or LBD in their family history may have potential risks too.

Symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia

There are several signs and symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia. It is crucial to recognize those at an early stage so that they can be treated and controlled. Here are some of the symptoms of LBD:

  • Hallucinations: Visual hallucination is one of the early signs of Lewy body dementia. People with LBD might see things that are not there. However, these hallucinations are not always visual. They might hallucinate different sounds, touch, or smell as well.
  • Movement problems: Lewy body disease causes mobility issues such as slowed movements, muscle stiffness, feeling tremors or shakiness, falling, and similar issues. These symptoms are also prevalent in Parkinson’s disease.
  • Confusion and changes in alertness: Cognitive fluctuations such as difficulty in concentration, attention, and feeling confused about relatively simple things are signs of LBD.
  • Mood and emotional changes: LBD patients may experience mood swings and emotional changes. They might feel anxious, apathetic, lack motivation, and develop depression. All these factors can impact their quality of life a great deal.
  • A decline in thinking ability: People with Lewy body dementia may have problems with critical thinking, problem-solving, planning, and other things which require attention to detail and analytical thinking.
  • Sleep disorder: Sleep difficulty is also one of the Lewy body dementia symptoms. That includes insomnia, daytime sleeping, difficulty waking up, loss of consciousness, and more.
  • Memory issues: LBD patients experience loss of memory and difficulty remembering small things or even faces of people.

How do Lewy bodies cause harm to the brain?

As mentioned earlier, Lewy bodies are clusters of protein (alpha-synuclein) that develop inside the brain. These Lewy bodies cause the destruction of specific neurons in the brain that leads to problems in memory, cognition, thinking, and movement. In addition, Lewy body protein deposits damage brain cells and cause them to die over time.

Types of Lewy body dementia and diagnosis

There are two types of expressions of Lewy body dementia and diagnosis. They are:

  1. Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB): If someone has DLB, they will develop symptoms of dementia and other symptoms associated with Lewy body dementia. One of these symptoms could be difficulty in movement, leading to Parkinson’s disease. In simpler words, if dementia symptoms and movement symptoms both exist during the time of diagnosis, it is likely to be DLB.
  1. Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD): In PDD, people experience movement issues first and other symptoms related to Parkinson’s disease. Then over the years, or a few years later, they develop symptoms of LBD.

So, both diagnoses are similar in terms of underlying problems and brain damage. However, it is recommended to treat DLB and PDD as two separate Lewy body disorders.

7 Stages of Lewy Body Dementia

Lewy Body Dementia is a progressive disease that worsens over time and causes a gradual decline in overall health. Hence it is critical to identify the illness at an early stage to minimize the damage. Similar to other progressive disorders, LBD goes through different stages of advancement. Here are the seven stages of Lewy Body Dementia that patients may go through:

Stage one: No impact on behavior or cognitive abilities. At this stage, patients experience almost no changes in their behavior or cognitive abilities associated with dementia. However, it is recommended to keep an eye on any abnormalities in movement or behavior. But, again, it has no impact on the quality of life.

Stage two: Very mild changes in behavior or cognitive abilities. At this stage, some minor symptoms such as forgetfulness, sleeping problems or hallucinations can be seen in some individuals. These symptoms can be difficult to notice if not paid close attention to.

Stage three: Mild changes in behavior or cognitive abilities. At this point, changes or problems are still mild, but patients might experience some movement issues like falls or shakiness. They could also experience some degree of forgetfulness, lack of concentration, and memory loss. It may lead to difficulty in completing daily tasks.

Stage four: Moderate changes in behavior or cognitive abilities/confirmed diagnosis. Patients may have already been diagnosed with the disease in the fourth stage. People often feel tremors, have difficulty talking, experience frequent falls, and excessive daytime sleepiness at this stage. It disrupts their daily life, and they require supervision throughout the day.

Stage five: Moderately severe impact on behavior or cognitive abilities. At stage five of LBD, the symptoms are relatively severe. Patients experience serious memory loss, disorientation, and hallucinations. At this point, they need around-the-clock supervision and cannot live alone.

Stage six: Severe impact on behavior or cognitive abilities. This stage may last a couple of years or more. Here, the symptoms become more severe. Patients are at high risk of developing various health issues such as UTI and bowel incontinence in addition to the typical LBD symptoms. In addition, many of them cannot recognize their loved ones and are unable to speak. At this point, family members may look for an appropriate nursing care plan for Lewy body dementia for their elderly loved one.

Stage seven: The final stage of LBD results in a severe impact on behavior or cognitive abilities. At this point, patients may have a severe decline in their physical system and communication abilities. They are mostly unable to walk and need a high level of professional support to carry on with their daily activities.

Is Lewy body dementia an inherited condition?

Though people with a family history of Parkinson’s disease risk having Lewy body dementia, many people develop this disorder without any family connection. So, it cannot be said that LBD is an inherited condition.

Treatment and care for Lewy body dementia

Currently, there is no cure for Lewy body dementia, but there are some treatments that you can use to control the symptoms to a certain degree. For example, certain medications can help elevate some of the brain chemicals that reduce memory and thinking symptoms. However, it is strictly recommended to consult with a doctor to assess the patient’s health and symptoms before taking any medication.

Here are some of the treatment options specifically helpful for the movement, behavior, and sleep disorder symptoms of LBD:

Treating movement symptoms in Lewy body dementia

The Lewy Body Dementia Association suggests using a medication called carbidopa-levodopa (Sinemet) as a treatment for Lewy body dementia. It is a Parkinson’s disease medication that can help with movement symptoms. However, it is not recommended for mild symptoms since these drugs can have side effects such as visual hallucination or confusion. In some cases, physiotherapy can also ease the discomfort and stiffness of muscles.

Treatment of behavior and mood problems in Lewy body dementia

Many LBD patients may deal with behavior or mood symptoms such as anxiety, frustration, or anger. These can result from their visual hallucinations, fear, or stress. In some cases, anti-depressants or antipsychotic medications might help to calm them down. However, there are also some no-drug strategies for treating Lewy body dementia. For example:

  • Cognitive therapy and exercise
  • Developing a daily routine with flexible schedules
  • Declutter the living environment to provide a sense of comfort
  • Counseling and clear communication

Managing sleep disorders in Lewy body dementia

Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD) can add to behavioral problems for LBD patients. Some doctors may prescribe, Clonazepam or melatonin, after considering the patient’s symptoms and medical history. As for natural strategies, maintaining proper sleep hygiene, exposure to natural light, soft music, and meditation can be helpful.

What complications are associated with medications used to treat Lewy body dementia?

Please note that Lewy body dementia medications can have mild to severe side effects on the patient. For example, medicines such as Cholinesterase inhibitors that are helpful for hallucinations or confusion may cause muscle cramps, nausea, and headaches. But the good news is that it does not affect behavioral symptoms right away. So, they can be used as a long-term strategy.

However, some medicines may worsen behavioral symptoms. For instance, certain drugs for sleep problems or movement symptoms can lead to agitation and hallucination. Besides, anti-depressants can sometimes backfire and worsen the condition of patients with anxiety issues.

So, it is crucial to have a regular review of LBD medications with doctors and make necessary adjustments to avoid any adverse side effects.

How is Lewy body dementia related to Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease?

Lewy body dementia is often linked with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. The reason behind this is the Lewy body protein that causes LBD is also responsible for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Besides, these brain disorders have overlapping symptoms such as memory issues and problems with movement and reasoning.

The majority of Parkinson’s disease patients have Lewy bodies in their brains and are also found in patients who have similar plaques and tangles in their brains associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Such patients often move to memory care or other care facilities suspecting Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s diagnosis to find out they have LBD!

These similarities in symptoms suggest that Lewy body dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s might result from the same underlying abnormalities in how the brain processes the alpha-synuclein protein. However, all three disorders may co-exist at the same time or separately.

What is the difference between LBD and Parkinson’s?

The main difference between LBD and Parkinson’s is that Parkinson’s patients first show movement symptoms. Then years later, they might develop dementia. On the other hand, in the case of LBD, patients develop dementia symptoms first, and then they may show movement symptoms. But even though Parkinson’s and LBD might have biological similarities, most patients do not develop both disorders at the same time!

Conclusion

There has been a lot of ongoing research to understand better Lewy body dementia, its origin, and environmental risk factors. Hopefully, these studies will lead to effective treatments and prevention techniques in the near future.

While LBD is not curable, some strategies and treatments can help subside the symptoms. Unfortunately, there are few ways to alleviate this debilitating disease, from medication to occupational therapies to lifestyle changes.

If your elderly loved one is severely impacted with LBD and needs around-the-clock supervision and assistance, home care services or nursing home support might be helpful in such instances. Their trained caregivers canhelplessen the progress of Lewy body dementia.

However, it is important to remember that LBD or any other form of illness affects different people differently. So, ensure to consult with your doctor before taking any medication or treatment.

FAQs

What is Lewy body dementia caused by? ›

Lewy body dementia (LBD) is a disease associated with abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein in the brain. These deposits, called Lewy bodies, affect chemicals in the brain whose changes, in turn, can lead to problems with thinking, movement, behavior, and mood.

What are the main symptoms of Lewy body dementia? ›

Symptoms of dementia with Lewy bodies

confusion or sleepiness – this can change over minutes or hours. slow movement, stiff limbs and tremors (uncontrollable shaking) disturbed sleep, often with violent movements and shouting out. fainting spells, unsteadiness and falls.

What can be misdiagnosed as Lewy body dementia? ›

An LBD diagnosis takes an average of 18 months and several doctors to pinpoint. This condition is often misdiagnosed due to its shared symptoms with other diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and schizophrenia.

Is Lewy body dementia a terminal illness? ›

The life expectancy of individuals with dementia with Lewy bodies varies; people typically survive about 5 to 7 years after they are diagnosed. REM sleep behavior disorder may be the first sign of dementia with Lewy bodies. It can occur years before other symptoms appear.

How fast does Lewy body progress? ›

Unlike Alzheimer's disease, which tends to progress gradually, this disease often starts rapidly, with a fast decline in the first few months. Later, there may be some leveling off but Lewy body dementia typically progresses faster than Alzheimer's. A patient can survive from five to seven years with the disease.

Can Lewy body dementia be prevented? ›

Can Lewy body dementia be prevented? While no therapy has yet been proven to prevent Lewy body dementia, some strategies may promote brain health, reduce dementia risk and improve general well-being. Recommendations include: Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.

What drugs should be avoided with Lewy body dementia? ›

Patients who have dementia with Lewy bodies should not be given the older, typical D2-antagonist antipsychotic agents such as haloperidol (Haldol), fluphenazine (Prolixin), and chlorpromazine (Thorazine). Patient records should document this and caregivers should be informed.

What is the best medication for Lewy body dementia? ›

Medications. Cholinesterase inhibitors. These Alzheimer's disease medications, such as rivastigmine (Exelon), donepezil (Aricept) and galantamine (Razadyne), work by increasing the levels of chemical messengers in the brain (neurotransmitters) believed to be important for memory, thought and judgment.

Do people with Lewy body know they have it? ›

It's these clusters that cause some or all of the motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease, as well as memory or cognitive problems, visual hallucinations, and problems with alertness. We rarely know if a living patient has Lewy bodies with certainty, however.

Can you see Lewy bodies on an MRI? ›

HealthDay News — Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain may aid diagnosis of dementia with Lewy bodies versus Alzheimer's disease, according to a study published online Nov. 2 in Neurology.

Can someone have Lewy body dementia without Parkinson's? ›

According to this criteria, a patient who has the first three clinical features but does not have parkinsonism may be diagnosed as DLB. Braak et al. proposed that brainstem synucleinopathy progresses rostrally to affect the substantia nigra, which may cause parkinsonism.

What happens at the end of Lewy body dementia? ›

Like others with LBD, muscle weakness may affect his swallowing ability. This can lead to aspirating food or liquid, resulting in pneumonia, a common cause of death in advanced dementia. Even without problems with aspiration, he'd probably succumb to pneumonia or heart failure after months of being bedridden.

Is Lewy body dementia always fatal? ›

Is Lewy body dementia fatal? A. Despite the benefits offered by available treatments, there is deterioration in cognitive and motor function over time. Like Alzheimer's disease, Lewy body dementia is a progressive disease with average survival after diagnosis of about eight years.

Do Lewy body patients sleep a lot? ›

People who have dementia caused by Lewy body disease, such as Parkinsons' disease (PD) or dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) are often sleepy by day but have very restless and disturbed nights. They can suffer from confusion, nightmares and hallucinations.

Does Lewy body dementia cause vision problems? ›

If you have a dementia, you might have visual difficulties but still have healthy eyes. These problems are caused by the effects of dementia on the brain. Dementia conditions that can affect your vision include: Lewy body dementia.

Is Lewy body worse than Alzheimer's? ›

Lewy body dementia has symptoms even worse than those of Alzheimer's.

What disorder is most often misdiagnosed as dementia? ›

Depression. The symptoms of depression are often mistaken for dementia. It is not easy to define the symptoms because many people with dementia develop signs of depression, such as feelings of low self-esteem and confidence, tearfulness and appetite, concentration and memory problems.

Do Lewy body symptoms come and go? ›

Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) causes problems with mental abilities and a number of other difficulties. The symptoms tend to come on gradually and get slowly worse over several years, although treatment can help.

How do you slow down Lewy body dementia? ›

Physical exercise has been repeatedly recommended as a way to prevent, slow down, and treat dementia. This includes Lewy body dementia. Exercise has also been shown to decrease stress and provide both physical and emotional benefits.

Does LBD run in families? ›

A growing body of evidence suggests genetics may play a role in the disorder and that some cases may be inherited. Scientists have found that some of these rare cases can be caused by mutations in the gene for alpha-synuclein (SNCA), the main protein found in Lewy bodies.

How do you get rid of Lewy bodies? ›

There's no cure for Lewy body dementia (LBD). Medications and nonmedical therapies, like physical, occupational and speech therapies, manage symptoms as much as possible.

How do you treat Lewy body dementia naturally? ›

Lewy Body Dementia Natural Treatment
  1. Avoid Food Triggers. Diet plays a key role in cognitive decline and disorders like LBD or DLB. ...
  2. Eat Foods that Heal. ...
  3. Take Beneficial Supplements. ...
  4. Exercise. ...
  5. Pet Therapy. ...
  6. Massage. ...
  7. Aromatherapy. ...
  8. Music Therapy.
18 Apr 2016

What drugs are used to calm dementia patients? ›

Types of Medications for Dementia
  • Zoloft (sertraline)
  • Celexa (citalopram)
  • Remeron (mirtazapine)
  • Desyrel (trazodone)
  • Lexapro (escitalopram)
  • Trintellix (vortioxetine)
  • Prozac (fluoxetine)
  • Wellbutrin (bupropion)
10 Aug 2020

What nutrient deficiency causes dementia? ›

Vitamin D deficiency was associated with an increased risk of both dementia and stroke, with the strongest associations for those with levels under 25 nanomoles per liter, or nmol/L.

Who is at high risk for Lewy body dementia? ›

People older than 60 are at greater risk. Sex. Lewy body dementia affects more men than women.

What are the most common subjects of Lewy body dementia hallucinations? ›

Most commonly with Lewy body dementia, individuals will have visual hallucinations of small people, children or animals. Oftentimes these hallucinations are not threatening and do not need to be treated with medication.

Where are Lewy bodies found? ›

SUMMARY The Lewy body is a distinctive neuronal inclusion that is always found in the substantia nigra and other specific brain regions in Parkinson's disease. It is mainly composed of structurally altered neurofilament, and occurs wherever there is excessive loss of neurons.

Can you have Lewy body without hallucinations? ›

Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Corticobasal Syndrome (CBS) are atypical parkinsonian disorders with fronto-subcortical and posterior cognitive dysfunction as common features. While visual hallucinations are a good predictor of Lewy body pathology and are rare in CBS, they are not exhibited in all cases of DLB.

Does Lewy body cause pain? ›

Many, if not most, people with Lewy Body Dementia have Parkinsonism mobility issues. Pain, of an often inexplicable source is very common, and has often been believed to be related to lack of mobility from the condition.

What part of the brain does Lewy body affect? ›

Lewy bodies affect several different brain regions in LBD: the cerebral cortex, which controls many functions, including information processing, perception, thought, and language. the limbic cortex, which plays a major role in emotions and behavior. the hippocampus, which is essential to forming new memories.

Does Lewy body dementia cause weight loss? ›

An 87- year- old man with dementia with Lewy bodies, living in residential aged care, exhibited rapid functional decline and weight loss associated with injurious falls over 9 months.

What are the final stages of dementia before death? ›

Signs of the final stages of dementia include some of the following: Being unable to move around on one's own. Being unable to speak or make oneself understood. Eating problems such as difficulty swallowing.

What does Lewy mean? ›

noun. : an eosinophilic inclusion body found in the cytoplasm of neurons of the cortex and brain stem in Parkinson's disease, Lewy body disease, and other neurodegenerative disorders.

What is the most common cause of death in dementia patients? ›

One of the most common causes of death for people with dementia is pneumonia caused by an infection. A person in the later stages of dementia may have symptoms that suggest that they are close to death, but can sometimes live with these symptoms for many months.

Does Lewy body dementia affect speech? ›

Those affected by Lewy Body Dementia face cognitive difficulties with communication including speech and swallowing disorders. Speech therapy addresses communicating, language and swallowing therapy.

Is Lewy body dementia worse than dementia? ›

Patients with dementia with Lewy bodies report worse physical and mental health and greater disability than do patients with Alzheimer's disease or Huntington's disease.

How long can a person live with dementia with Lewy bodies? ›

With an average lifespan after onset of 5 to 7 years, the progression of dementia with Lewy bodies is relentless; however, the rate of decline varies with each person.

What causes death in Lewy body dementia? ›

Failure to thrive is the most common cause of death in DLB (65%), followed by pneumonia/swallowing difficulties (23%) [5].

What time of day is dementia worse? ›

People living with Alzheimer's and other dementia may have problems sleeping or experience increased confusion, anxiety, agitation, pacing and disorientation beginning at dusk and continuing throughout the night (referred to as sundowning).

What stage of dementia is anger? ›

Is there an anger stage of dementia? Not really. A person with dementia will progress through the stages of dementia but the changes have to do with level of functioning, not with anger.

What are the first signs of Lewy body? ›

5 EARLY SIGNS OF LEWY BODY DEMENTIA
  • Hallucinations or Delusions of Reality. Unlike Alzheimer's disease, individuals in the early stages of Lewy Body Dementia may exhibit cognitive changes such as hallucinations or distortions of reality. ...
  • Cognitive Fluctuations. ...
  • Changes in Movement. ...
  • Behavioral Shifts. ...
  • Sleep Problems.
5 Feb 2019

How does Lewy body dementia start? ›

Dementia with Lewy bodies often starts when you have a hard time moving your body. Within a year, you start to have thinking and memory problems that are similar to Alzheimer's disease, along with changes in behavior. You also might see things that aren't there, called hallucinations.

Is there a test for Lewy body dementia? ›

There are no tests that can definitively diagnose LBD. Currently, only a brain autopsy after death can confirm a suspected diagnosis. However, researchers are studying ways to diagnose LBD earlier and more accurately during life.

Is Lewy body dementia always fatal? ›

Is Lewy body dementia fatal? A. Despite the benefits offered by available treatments, there is deterioration in cognitive and motor function over time. Like Alzheimer's disease, Lewy body dementia is a progressive disease with average survival after diagnosis of about eight years.

Is Lewy body dementia worse than Alzheimer's? ›

Patients with dementia with Lewy bodies report worse physical and mental health and greater disability than do patients with Alzheimer's disease or Huntington's disease.

Does Lewy body dementia run in families? ›

A growing body of evidence suggests genetics may play a role in the disorder and that some cases may be inherited. Scientists have found that some of these rare cases can be caused by mutations in the gene for alpha-synuclein (SNCA), the main protein found in Lewy bodies.

What is the difference between dementia and Lewy body dementia? ›

Dementia is a loss of mental functions that is severe enough to affect your daily life. The main difference between the two is when the start of thinking and movement symptoms occur. Dementia with Lewy bodies first causes problems with mental functioning similar to Alzheimer's disease.

What drugs should be avoided with Lewy body dementia? ›

Patients who have dementia with Lewy bodies should not be given the older, typical D2-antagonist antipsychotic agents such as haloperidol (Haldol), fluphenazine (Prolixin), and chlorpromazine (Thorazine). Patient records should document this and caregivers should be informed.

What happens at the end of Lewy body dementia? ›

Like others with LBD, muscle weakness may affect his swallowing ability. This can lead to aspirating food or liquid, resulting in pneumonia, a common cause of death in advanced dementia. Even without problems with aspiration, he'd probably succumb to pneumonia or heart failure after months of being bedridden.

Is Lewy body dementia painful? ›

Many, if not most, people with Lewy Body Dementia have Parkinsonism mobility issues. Pain, of an often inexplicable source is very common, and has often been believed to be related to lack of mobility from the condition.

Can Lewy body dementia go into remission? ›

Remission to near-normal cognitive function can occur spontaneously in the absence of clear environmental triggers suggesting that fluctuating cognition in Lewy body dementia is internally driven and that dynamic changes in brain activity play a role in its aetiology (Ballard et al., 2001; Sourty et al., 2016).

How do you get rid of Lewy bodies? ›

There's no cure for Lewy body dementia (LBD). Medications and nonmedical therapies, like physical, occupational and speech therapies, manage symptoms as much as possible.

Does Lewy body dementia cause extreme fatigue? ›

Drowsiness and daytime sleepiness (despite getting adequate sleep the night before) are often described by individuals with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and their caregivers. This is reported even in the very early (mild cognitive impairment) stage of DLB.

Does dementia come from mother or father? ›

Experts believe both genetic factors (variants of genes passed down from mom and dad) and modifiable lifestyle factors (diet, smoking, physical activity) all play a role in the development of dementia, perhaps in concert.

What is the best medication for Lewy body dementia? ›

Medications. Cholinesterase inhibitors. These Alzheimer's disease medications, such as rivastigmine (Exelon), donepezil (Aricept) and galantamine (Razadyne), work by increasing the levels of chemical messengers in the brain (neurotransmitters) believed to be important for memory, thought and judgment.

How long can a person live with dementia with Lewy bodies? ›

With an average lifespan after onset of 5 to 7 years, the progression of dementia with Lewy bodies is relentless; however, the rate of decline varies with each person.

What disorder is most often misdiagnosed as dementia? ›

Depression. The symptoms of depression are often mistaken for dementia. It is not easy to define the symptoms because many people with dementia develop signs of depression, such as feelings of low self-esteem and confidence, tearfulness and appetite, concentration and memory problems.

Do Lewy body symptoms come and go? ›

Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) causes problems with mental abilities and a number of other difficulties. The symptoms tend to come on gradually and get slowly worse over several years, although treatment can help.

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