Where can I learn about Lewy Body Dementia?
by Barbara Fradkin
Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) is a complex and challenging brain disorder that affects many parts of the brain. Its symptoms may manifest at different times, including cognitive decline, problems with movement, visual hallucinations, sleep disorders, and changes in behavior, blood pressure, temperature regulation, bladder and bowel function and more.
According to the Lewy Body Dementia Association, “It takes an average of three doctors and 18+ months to correctly diagnose LBD. Many doctors fail to recognize the signs and symptoms, because they are very similar to Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, leading to misdiagnosis and delayed treatment.”
Alzheimer’s disease starts with a build-up of certain proteins in the brain. The protein responsible for Lewy bodies is alpha-synuclein, which plays an important role in neuron function. In LBD, alpha-synuclein clumps inside neurons, starting in brain regions that control aspects of memory and movement. The neurons work less efficiently and eventually die.
Parkinson’s disease starts as a movement disorder, with symptoms such as slowed movement, muscle stiffness, tremor, and a shuffling walk. Later, cognitive symptoms of dementia and changes in mood and behavior may arise. Lewy Body Dementia causes cognitive decline that may initially seem like Alzheimer’s disease. Over time, however, patients will develop the other distinctive symptoms of LBD.
Dr. Lourdes Benes of Neurology One in Orlando sees many patients with LBD, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. She states, “early detection of Lewy Body disease is crucial to allow for early intervention and management to improve quality of life.”
Sue Bouder from Central Florida Lewy Body works with people with Lewy Body disease and Parkinson’s disease. She believes that LBD poses unique challenges for healthcare professionals and caregivers and that education is key.
Join these professionals on November 8th for a Brevard Parkinson’s Alliance “Lunch and Learn” event at One Senior Place. RSVP online or call 321-751-6771 to register. I’ll see you there.
One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to askOSP@OneSeniorPlace.com, call 321-751-6771 or visit The Experts in Aging at OneSeniorPlace.com. Barbara Fradkin is the Co-president of the Brevard Parkinson’s Alliance, a Social Worker, Certified Care Manager and the former Director of One Senior Place, Viera.