Lewy Body Disease

What is Lewy Body Disease? Learn about the symptoms and treatments for Lewy Body Disease here...

What Is Lewy Body Disease?

Lewy Body is a type of dementia in which mental abilities are compromised, and patients often suffer from hallucinations. It is not uncommon for someone suffering from this disease to have actual conversations with loved ones who have passed away. The disease makes them think the person is still alive and can carry on a conversation.

The disease gets its name from the Lewy bodies, which are destructive protein deposits. They form in nerve cells of the brain and cause debilitating effects. The part of the brain affected by these protein deposits is what controls a persperson’sements, memory, and way of thinking.

Of all the types of dementia, the only one more widely diagnosed than Lewy Body is Alzheimer’s. The disease gets its name from the neurologist that was the first person to study the effect of the disease on humans.

Lewy Body Disease

Symptoms Of Lewy Bodies Disease

Aside from hallucinations, other symptoms of this disease include struggling to sleep, depression, problems with cognitive functions, and attention span that fluctuates, and basic body functions no longer being regulated as they should be. One of the symptoms of Lewy Body that not everyone realizes is fainting and falling repeatedly.

People suffering from this disease often physically act out their dreams without realizing it. This is caused by REM sleep behavior disorder, often seen in patients with Lewy bodies. Most of the cognitive problems patients face are the same as those with Alzheimer’s, including memory loss and general confusion.


Several things need to be done to diagnose Lewy Body. A doctor must assess the symptoms that appear in potential Lewy Body patients, assess a patipatient’stal ability, and perform physical and complete scans of a patipatient’sin. The brain scan procedure will not uncover the presence of the Lewy Body itself. Still, it will determine whether or not a patipatient’sin is deteriorating in ways that affect their mental capacity.


The symptoms of Lewy Body can be treated even though the disease can’t are both medical and nonmedical ways to treat a patient with this disease. A patipatient’snitive symptoms can be treated with cholinesterase inhibitors, as can a patipatient’slucinations.

Nonmedical treatments used to manage this disease include physical, speech, occupational therapy, and both family and individual psychotherapy. For some patients, doctors will recommend taking aerobics or water aerobics classes and flexibility and strengthening exercise courses. Cardiovascular therapy can also be used to treat the symptoms of this disease.

Family and individual psychotherapy are often recommended for patients and their families. This type of therapy teaches them how to cope with both the behavioral and emotional problems the disease causes. It also helps patients and families face the future with less stress and anxiety.

Lewy Body Dementia Stages

There are 7 stages of Lewy Body dementia, though each stage is not easily defined because there is no clear-cut difference between stages of this disease. It can be hard to track the stages because they are somewhat different for everyone. The REM behavior previously mentioned is often one of the first stages of the disease.

The average person will experience this behavior for as long as 11 years before showing any other sign of having a Lewy Body. Treating REM behavior can involve a patient taking clonazepam or melatonin.

The progression of this disease usually comes with the loss of cognitive functions. It becomes increasingly harder to pay attention and stay alert. Making plans in advance becomes difficult, and mental tasks become more complicated than they ever were before. Even tasks one is accustomed to doing daily with ease can quickly become difficult, if not impossible.

By the time someone reaches the middle stages of this disease, they often have difficulty holding still and will shuffle around a lot. Other physical changes that manifest themselves in patients with Lewy Body are the strength and tone of their speaking voice and an inability to use facial expressions. Patients can take speech therapy to help compensate for these problems. Speech therapy can also fix any difficulties patients have when swallowing and strengthening their muscles.

When the hallucinations set in is the time one is most likely to be diagnosed with this disease. Many of the symptoms that present themselves at this stage are similar to that of Parkinson’s hallucinations experienced by patients with Lewy Body disease might upset their loved ones. The patient themselves rarely gets upset that they are hallucinating. It is not unusual for Lewy Body disease patients to acknowledge that their hallucinations are not real.

These initial Lewy Body disease stages lead patients into the final stages of Lewy Body dementia. As a patient enters the final stages of the disease, all of their symptoms become progressively worse. At this point, many people suffering from this disease also end up with symptoms typical of Alzheimer’s.

Perhaps the most notable part of the final stages of this disease is that their delusions become more severe and often involve patients buying into conspiracy theories, even if they would never have before being stricken with the disease.

At this point, their delusions often also include the sensed presence of supernatural beings. End-stage Lewy Body dementia can be extremely painful for a patipatient’sed ones. In the Lewy Body dementia stages, death is imminent in patients with the disease.

Inheriting The Disease

Lewy body disease is often hereditary and found in one’s medical history. According to the Lewy Body Dementia Association, genetics can easily play a role in the likelihood someone will suffer from this disease. Many families carry a gene associated with a disease called GaucGaucher’sease.

This disease is hereditary also and is a disorder of metabolism. In GaucGaucher’sease lipids gather in a per person seen, bone marrow, brain, liver, and lungs. Genetic mutations from within the GBA gene and patients with the disease get copies of this damaging gene from both their mother and their father. When this happens, a person then has the autosomal recessive disorder.

Anyone who has Gaucher’sease is at an increased risk of being diagnosed with Parkinson’s well. Doctors know that if someone carries one of the damaging GBA genes in their body but not two, they usually do not end up with Lewy Body.

Medical research has proven that out of 80 test subjects suffering from Lewy Body, only 7.6% of them had a mutated GBA gene in their body. The research performed involved 381 control subjects that were in good health.

Who found GBA mutations to be almost as frequent as the occurrence of Alzheimer’s. In studies done before this one, 7% of study participants suffering from Parkinson’s carried the GBA gene in them, which means the gene is most commonly found in those who suffer from it, Parkinson’s Body, or both.

Diffuse Lewy Body Disease

First recognized during the 1990s, Diffuse Lewy Body Disease (DLB) also afflicts people worldwide and has likely been around as long as other types of dementia. Doctors believe that it may cause anywhere from 10% to 20% of all diagnosed cases of dementia within the United States.

In some cases, patients are diagnosed with this type of disease alone. In some cases, patients are diagnosed with Diffuse Lewy Body Disease and Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. Even neuropsychological testing can not always detect the difference between the two diseases.

Identifying this particular type of dementia can be done by conducting SPECT studies. Researchers have yet to figure out what causes Diffuse Lewy Body Disease. Genetics have been shown to play no more than a minor role in the disease itself. Some of the risk factors associated with Alzheimer’s seem to have no association with Diffuse Lewy Body.

Since so little is known about this type of disease, there are no established methods for treating it. However, symptoms associated with this disease can be treated using medication. These are symptoms a patient would experience due to brain damage from the disease.

Even though Lewy Body and Alzheimer’s have so much in common, most of the medications meant to treat Alzheimer’s will likely do nothing for a patient with Lewy Body alone. However, patients who have symptoms of both may benefit from certain medications. Though there are preventative measures that Who can take to combat Alzheimer’s gingko and Vitamin E appear to do nothing to prevent Lewy Body.

Brain pathology plays an important role in detecting and treating Diffuse Lewy Body, though the brain pathology of this type of dementia differs from other types. A general pathologist can easily miss brain findings associated with this type of dementia because they are significantly smaller than what pathologists are used to looking for. Unlike typical Lewy Body Disease, DLB is not hereditary.

Lewy Body Disease Prognosis

When a patient suffering from Lewy Body is given a prognosis by their doctor, it usually has to do with the chances that there will be complications, outcomes that are likely to occur, and the recovery period if a patient is even able to recover. The Lewy Body disease life expectancy is not something that Who can measure definitively because it affects every patient in unique ways.

Since doctors do not know how to stop Lewy Body altogether or even slow down the progression of the disease, the prognosis for a patient suffering from this type of dementia is usually negative. On average, people diagnosed with Lewy Body have eight years to live following their diagnosis. This is roughly the same prognosis people with Alzheimer’s are given to live. Over the years, the disease is guaranteed to progress in every patient diagnosed.


Though dementia with Lewy Bodie’s stages is hard for people to cope with, there is help out there for it. The medical community is searching for new approaches to treating this disease.

It is believed that when doctors can more successfully measure patipatients’lucinations tracking their responses to their treatments will help them develop a strategy for future treatments. Visual hallucinations in patients with this disease are being studied, and the connection between the disease and brain receptors is becoming clearer.

Only time will tell what the future holds for those suffering from Lewy Body Disease.

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