Lewy Body Disease
(Lewy Body Dementia; Dementia with Lewy Bodies)
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The disease is linked to a buildup of abnormal protein deposits called Lewy bodies in the brain. These deposits play a role in memory, visual processing, and motor control. It is not known why they build up. The immune system may play a role in Lewy Body Disease.
Lewy body disease is more common in people over 65 years of age.
Things that may raise the risk are:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Having certain genetic issues
A person with Lewy body disease may have:
- Forgetfulness, problems naming things, or changes in thinking
- Lack of focus or confusion
- Slowness when moving
- Problems sleeping
- Seeing things that are not there
- Having beliefs that are not based in reality
These symptoms may get worse or better over time.
The doctor will ask about symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. Cognitive tests will also be done.
Images may be taken to help with the diagnosis. This can be done with:
The only way to confirm the disease is through an autopsy after death.
There is no cure. The goal of treatment is to manage symptoms. This can be done with medicines such as:
- Cholinesterase inhibitors to treat changes in thinking
- Memantine to decrease abnormal activity in the brain
- Levodopa to treat physical symptoms
- Antipsychotic medicine
Counseling and support groups can provide support and guidance.
There are no current guidelines to prevent this disease.
- Dementia with Lewy bodies. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/dementia-with-lewy-bodies.
- Dementia with Lewy bodies information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Dementia-Lewy-Bodies-Information-Page.
- Facing Lewy body dementia together: an introduction to LBD. Lewy Body Disease Association website. Available at: http://lbda.org/facing-lewy-body-dementia-together-an-introduction-to-lbd.
- Gate, D., Tapp, E., et al. CD4+ T cells contribute to neurodegeneration in Lewy Body Dementia. Science, 2021; 374(6569): 868-874.
- McKeith, I.G., Boeve, B.F., et al. Diagnosis and management of dementia with Lewy bodies: fourth consensus report of the DLB Consortium. Neurology, 2017; 89(1): 88-100.
- Rimas Lukas, MD
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