Lewy Body Dementia

What is Lewy Body Dementia?

Lewy Body Dementia which is also called dementia with Lewy bodies, cortical Lewy body disease, diffuse Lewy body disease, and senile dementia of Lewy type is a common form of dementia that shares features with Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.

Lewy body dementia is a type of progressive neurodegenerative dementia that affects mostly older adults. It can be difficult to diagnose Lewy body dementia correctly since its symptoms resemble those of other diseases. Lewy body dementia accounts for about 20% of dementia cases worldwide and is the second most common kind of progressive dementia after Alzheimer’s. The major cause of the condition is not understood very well and some believe Lewy body dementia may be linked with the PARK11 gene.

What are the Symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia?

Lewy Body Dementia leads to deterioration of motor and intellectual functions, difficulty making decisions, problems with organization, difficulties with visual perception, frequent falls, becoming lost in familiar surroundings, visual hallucinations, great variation in alertness and attention on a daily basis, difficulty judging and navigating distances, problems carrying out day to day activities, difficulty sleeping, and REM behavior disorder which causes the individual to act out their dreams.

Lewy Body Dementia Causes

Though the precise cause or causes of LBD or Lewy Body Dementia is unknown, some scientists are focusing on genetics and biological culprits. For example, research has shown that an accumulation of Lewy bodies is often associated with losing certain neurons that produce two essential neurotransmitters in the brain, chemicals which send messages between brain cells. One of these two essential messengers, acetylcholine, is important in the processing of memories and learning. Dopamine is the other neurotransmitter, which affects and governs cognition, behavior, movement, sleep, motivation, and mood.

Additionally, scientists have learned about the following risk factors for LBD:

  • Age is the greatest risk factor for LBD as those who develop the disorder are typically over the age of 50. Other known risk factors for LBD include: diseases and health conditions, particularly REM sleep behavior disorder and Parkinson’s disease; genetics, as a family member diagnosed with LBD increases a person’s risk of contracting LBD and lifestyle. No specific factor has been directly proven to raise a person’s risk of developing LBD.

How is Lewy Body Dementia Treated?

There is no cure for Lewy Body Dementia.

Cholinesterase inhibitors such as donepezil and rivastigmine may be employed to treat the cognitive symptoms of Lewy body dementia such as hallucinations and other psychiatric symptoms. REM sleep behavior disorder and other problems involving sleep can be treated with melatonin or clonazepam. It’s also important to reduce stress, treat depression, exercise, avoid isolation, and play games and puzzles to exercise the brain.

Lewy Body Dementia Prevention

Studies suggest that leading a healthy lifestyle, with regular exercise, plenty of mental stimulation and a completely healthy diet could have some effects and might reduce the chance of developing age-associated dementia.

Changing your diet is the most proactive method of preventing Lewy Body known. Some dietary tips include:

Avoiding refined sugar and carbohydrates

These unhealthy and concentrated sweeteners refined carbohydrates destabilize your blood sugar, induce cognitive decline and greatly increase inflammation. Reducing them bolsters ketones in the brain for fuel.

Aluminum is known to be toxic to the brain at significant or high levels, so avoiding foods packaged in aluminum casings and avoiding the use of any aluminum-based cookware and aluminum-based deodorants can protect the brain.

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Last Reviewed:
October 06, 2016
Last Updated:
March 12, 2018