Lewy Body Disease

Also called: Dementia with Lewy bodies

Lewy body disease is one of the most common causes of dementia in the elderly. Dementia is the loss of mental functions severe enough to affect normal activities and relationships. Lewy body disease happens when abnormal structures, called Lewy bodies, build up in areas of the brain. The disease may cause a wide range of symptoms, including

  • Changes in alertness and attention
  • Hallucinations
  • Problems with movement and posture
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Confusion
  • Loss of memory

Lewy body disease can be hard to diagnose, because Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease cause similar symptoms. Scientists think that Lewy body disease might be related to these diseases, or that they sometimes happen together.

Lewy body disease usually begins between the ages of 50 and 85. The disease gets worse over time. There is no cure. Treatment focuses on drugs to help symptoms.

NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Symptoms of Lewy Body Disease

The following features are indicative of Lewy Body Disease:
  • visual hallucinations
  • movement disorders
  • poor body functions
  • cognitive problems
  • sleep difficulties
  • depression
  • fluctuating attention
  • apathy
  • rigid muscles
  • tremors
  • muscle stiffness
  • confusion
It is possible that Lewy Body Disease shows no physical symptoms and still is present in a patient.

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Common Causes of Lewy Body Disease

The following are the most common causes of Lewy Body Disease:
  • abnormal deposits of alpha-synuclein protein in the brain

Other Causes of Lewy Body Disease

The following are the less common causes of Lewy Body Disease:
  • plaques and tangles associated with alzheimer's disease

Risk Factors for Lewy Body Disease

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Lewy Body Disease:
  • older age
  • Being male
  • genetic factors
  • depression

Prevention of Lewy Body Disease

No, it is not possible to prevent Lewy Body Disease.
  • genetic factors

Occurrence of Lewy Body Disease

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Lewy Body Disease cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Not common between 50K - 500K cases

Common Age Group

Lewy Body Disease most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged > 50 years

Common Gender

Lewy Body Disease can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Lewy Body Disease

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Lewy Body Disease:
  • Blood tests: To check vitamin B-12 deficiency or an underactive thyroid gland
  • Brain scans: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), computed tomography (CT) scan to identify a stroke or bleeding or to check out the possibility of a tumor
  • Mental ability test: To assess memory and thinking skills
  • Neurological examination: To check signs of Parkinson's disease, strokes, tumors or other medical conditions
  • Physical examination: To test reflexes, strength, walking, muscle tone, eye movements, balance and sense of touch

Doctor for Diagnosis of Lewy Body Disease

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Lewy Body Disease:
  • Neurologist

Complications of Lewy Body Disease if untreated

Yes, Lewy Body Disease causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Lewy Body Disease is left untreated:
  • depression
  • aggressive behavior
  • severe dementia
  • worsening symptoms
  • increased risk of injury
  • can be fatal

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Lewy Body Disease

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Lewy Body Disease:
  • Music therapy: Listening to soothing music relaxes the patient
  • Spend time with pets: Spending time with animals improves the moods and behaviors in dementia patients
  • Massage therapy: Help to promote relaxation

Patient Support for Treatment of Lewy Body Disease

The following actions may help Lewy Body Disease patients:
  • Modify environment: Reducing noises makes the patient function more properly
  • Offering soothing responses: Responding the patient very politely
  • Create daily routines and keep tasks simple: Breaking the daily tasks into simple steps and focussing on successes not failures
  • Speak clearly and simply: Maintaining eye contact and speaking slowly, in simple sentences makes the patient to stay calm and understand things
  • Encourage exercise: Helps patient improve physical function, behavior and depression symptoms
  • Provide mind stimulation: Slows mental decline

Time for Treatment of Lewy Body Disease

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Lewy Body Disease to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • Disease cannot be treated but only maintained or effects reduced

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Lewy Body Disease.
Alzheimer's Disease
Parkinson's Disease

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