Lewy Body Disease
(Lewy Body Dementia; Dementia with Lewy Bodies)
Dementia]]> is the progressive loss of memory and various other mental functions, including the ability to:
Lewy body disease is caused by the build up of Lewy bodies. These are abnormal protein deposits inside brain cells that control certain aspects of memory and motor control. It is the second most common type of progressive dementia.
It is not clear exactly what causes the build up of Lewy bodies in the brain. But, Lewy body disease is linked to:
These factors increase your chance of developing Lewy body disease. Tell your doctor if you have any of these risk factors:
- Gender: male
- Age: 53-83 years
- Family history of Lewy body disease
Lewy body disease is characterized by:
Fluctuations in alertness and attention
- Frequent drowsiness
- Staring into space
- Disorganized speech
- Recurrent visual hallucinations
- Poor regulation of body temperature and blood pressure
- Obsessive compulsive behaviors
Parkinsonian motor symptoms
- Loss of spontaneous movement
- REM behavior disorder
The only way to diagnose Lewy body disease conclusively is through an autopsy]]> . But, a doctor can do tests to narrow the cause of dementia. You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. The doctor will do a physical exam as well as other tests, such as:
While there is no cure, there are treatments that can control the symptoms. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include:
These medications may be used to help with the symptoms:
- Donepezil]]> and ]]>rivastigmine]]> —to help with cognition; may worsen motor symptoms
- Levodopa—to help control rigidity and loss of spontaneous movement
If you have Lewy body disease, you may be particularly sensitive to medications called neuroleptics. You may have adverse events with these medications.
Lewy Body Dementia Association
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Canadian Stroke Network
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Last reviewed January 2009 by ]]>Rimas Lukas, MD]]>
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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