Dementia with Lewy Bodies

Find a cure for Parkinson’s Disease and you find a cure for Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) and Parkinson’s Disease Dementia (PDD). Love and Care in IllnessLove and Care

As mentioned on another page, Parkinson’s Disease is caused by the build-up of clusters in the brain called Lewy Bodies, which are made from alpha synuclein protein.

As with a number of dementias it is the proliferation of protein bodies/plaques across the brain that damages normal functioning thus causing neurodegeneration.

Lewy Bodies interfere with the generation of chemicals in the brain that impact on thinking, mood and movement that are symptomatic of Dementia with Lewy Bodies. Dopamine is important in maintaining stable moods and sleeping patterns and mobility. Acetylcholine is important for maintaining our cognitive functioning in good order, memory, planning and behaviour for instance. 

Problems with movement and with memory in the early stages of either dementia make diagnosis difficult, as they can be mistaken for either Alzheimer’s Disease or Parkinson’s Disease.  We know that even within the confines of each dementia diagnosis each sufferer has his or her own journey at constant neurological degeneration or staggered progress.

There are two similar dementias that can be caused by alpha synuclein protein Lewy Bodies: Dementia with Lewy Bodies and Parkinson’s' disease dementia.

Each can occur because of suffering Parkinson’s Disease. However - and it is an important However – dementia is not an inevitable consequence of being struck by Parkinson’s Disease. It is an important marker for diagnosing whether a person is suffering from DLB or PDD.

Generally, dementia that occurs within around a year of the onset of Parkinson’s Disease receives the diagnosis of Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB). Those who show signs of dementia more than a year after onset of Parkinson’s Disease are diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease Dementia (PDD). (More on this on DLB page).

Symptoms of Dementia with Lewy Bodies

In its early stages DLB shares symptoms common to both Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease.

All dementia diseases become progressively worse and all patients progress at their own rate depending on rate and degree of damage to the communication between cells and regions of the brain. 

Cognitive Symptoms of DLB (thinking skills):

  • Decline in Memory (although not as obvious or as significant as Alzheimer’s in the early stages).
  • Problems with planning, judgement of physical space, decision-making and failing ability to act out intention
  • Concentration lapses. Occasionally suddenly and for extended periods

Physical Symptoms of DLB:

  • Parkinsonism – Tremors, Limb stiffness, stooped, shuffling gait, Balance and falling over a great deal.
  • Sleep disorders – disruption to normal sleeping patterns, catalepsy and its opposite of being unable to sleep
  • Restlessness

Psychological/Psychiatric Conditions:

  • Mood swings
  • Apathy
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Hallucinations - Visual, Auditory or Tactile. Seeing things that are not there and engaging with them – acting as if hallucinations real.
  • Delusions – false, irrational beliefs about people and situations.

Later Stages of the Types of Dementias:

People suffering from PDD or DLB will present with symptoms to varying degree of intensity.

However, they are progressive in decline and in the latter stages, like all types of dementias, they gather around the same or similar constellation of symptoms: depression, inertia, immobility and probably Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or Stroke.

Currently there is no cure. But not for the want of trying. We all wish good health to those looking for cures.

Go to Dementia with Lewy Bodies page

Go to Symptoms of Dementia Page

Go to Dementia Devotion Home Page

Go to Dementia Diary

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