What is LBD (Lewy-Body Dementia)?
LBD is a common disease, affecting approximately 1.4 million individuals and associated family members in the Unites States. It is commonly misdiagnosed because the symptoms closely resemble those we see with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
Lewy Body Dementia is a complex progressive brain disease in which abnormal deposits of protein, or "Lewy Bodies" build up in different areas of the brain. The most common areas of the brain effected by the protein build-ups are those that regulate movement, cognition, and behavior. Some symptoms of the disease present as problems with memory, thinking, physical movements, and/or changes in sleep patterns. Some others that may be observed include a decline in planning/processing new information, fluctuations in alertness, muscle tremors, and/or hallucinations.
Who was Lewy?
Scientist Friederich H. Lewy discovered the abnormal protein deposits in the early 1900s while researching Parkinson's disease. He discovered that the Lewy Body proteins, found in the brain stem, deplete the neurotransmitter dopamine, causing Parkinsonian symptoms. As the Lewy Body proteins relate to Lewy Body Dementia, the proteins were found to be diffusing to different areas of the brain, thus depleting the essential chemical, acetlycholine. Lowered levels of Acetylcholine is what causes the disruption of perception, thinking, and behaviors.
Do we know what causes LBD?
Researchers are attempting to understand the causes of LBD. As with any disease, there are multiple factors involved ranging from environmental to genetic risk factors, and how those correlate with the natural aging process of each individual.
3 Things you should know about LBD:
- Lewy Body dementias are the 2nd most common form of degenerative dementia, the most common being Alzheimer's Disease.
- Early & accurate diagnosis is essential to selecting the right treatment plan for individuals living with LBD.
- The symptoms of LBD are treatable, which can improve the patient's quality of life!
Please visit the LEWY BODY DEMENTIA ASSOCIATION website to learn more, find support, gain access to resources, or to support LBD research.
The information contained in this page is not meant to take the place of health care or services you may need. Please see your primary health provider about any personal health concerns.