Lewy Body Dementia: Symptoms and Diagnosis

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Lewy body dementia is a type of dementia in which Lewy bodies, a type of protein, develop in the brain, especially in the areas of the brain that are responsible for memory, reasoning, thinking, and movement. Lewy body dementia is a progressive neurological disease, and because of this, early diagnosis and treatment to help manage its symptoms and perhaps slow its progression are important. Here are some symptoms of Lewy body dementia and diagnostic interventions that the brain specialist may recommend to confirm the disease.  

Lewy Body Dementia Symptoms

Lewy body dementia symptoms may be similar to those of Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's. They include muscle rigidity, tremors, an abnormal gait, and delayed movement. Hallucinations may also occur, and in some patients, may be one of the earliest signs.

In addition to visual hallucinations, Lewy body dementia can cause hearing hallucinations and smell hallucinations. Furthermore, vital sign fluctuation may also occur because the autonomic nervous systems of Lewy body dementia patients may be poorly regulated. This means that the individual may develop erratic blood pressure, which can raise the risk for orthostatic hypotension, in which the blood pressure drops when standing. 

Patients may also develop urinary incontinence, loss of bowel control, dizziness, and sweating abnormalities. Like other types of dementia, Lewy body dementia often causes cognitive deficits, including memory loss and confusion. It may also lead to mood swings, abnormal sleep patterns, depression, and behavioral problems such as combativeness. 

Diagnostic Interventions

Diagnostic interventions for Lewy body dementia will include a comprehensive physical examination that will assess the patient's walking ability, muscle strength, the pattern of eye movements, and assessment of the cranial nerves, including the optic and olfactory nerves.

The brain specialist may also order a magnetic imaging test, also called an MRI. A CT scan, also known as a computerized tomography scan, may also be recommended so that the neurology specialist can assess the condition of the brain for any abnormalities. These diagnostic imaging tests can also help the doctor rule out other neurological disorders such as stroke, tumors, or bleeding in the brain that may also be causing or contributing to the individual's symptoms. 

If your loved one develops any of the above signs and symptoms of Lewy body dementia, make an appointment with their physician as soon as possible. If warranted, the primary care physician will refer the patient to a nervous system specialist for further evaluation and treatment to help improve their symptoms.

If you are in need of a brain specialist, contact a company like North Texas Neuroscience Center PA .