Home Health 7 stages of Lewy body dementia: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment 2023

7 stages of Lewy body dementia: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment 2023

by Shah Nawaz
7 stages of Lewy body dementia

Introduction

7 Stages of Lewy body dementia (LBD) is a progressive brain condition affecting memory, thinking, behavior and movement. The abnormal buildup of alpha-synuclein protein causes symptoms that include memory loss, thinking difficulty, difficulty with movement and impaired movement. LBD is one of the leading causes of dementia affecting over one million Americans each year in America alone – more prevalent among older adults, men specifically; risks increase with age as well as family history of disease such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and certain genetic mutations.

What are the 7 Stages of  Lewy body dementia?

7 Stages of Lewy body dementia (LBD) is a form of dementia affecting the brain’s ability to think, remember, and control movements. It’s caused by abnormal deposits of alpha-synuclein protein in the brain; these deposits, known as Lewy bodies, interfere with communication between brain cells causing them to die off. LBD is the second most prevalent form of dementia after Alzheimer’s and usually affects people over 50 years old; slightly more men than women are affected. Unfortunately, there’s no cure; however, some treatments may help alleviate some symptoms.

7 Stages of Lewy body dementia

7 Stages of Lewy body dementia is a progressive brain disorder affecting memory, thinking, behavior, and movement. It’s caused by abnormal deposits of alpha-synuclein protein in the brain; with each stage presenting unique symptoms and challenges. Lewy body dementia has seven stages with unique characteristics and challenges. Here is an overview of 7 stages of Lewy Body Dementia:

Stage 1: Mild cognitive impairment

In this stage, the person may have some problems with memory, attention, planning or problem-solving, but they can still function independently and perform daily activities.

Stage 2: Moderate cognitive impairment

At this stage, the individual may exhibit more noticeable difficulties with memory, language, reasoning or spatial awareness. They may experience visual hallucinations, delusions, mood swings or sleep issues and need assistance with complex tasks or decision-making processes.

Stage 3: Severe cognitive impairment

In this stage, the person may have severe memory loss, confusion, disorientation or agitation. They may not recognize familiar people or places or need help communicating or understanding others. They may also have more frequent or severe hallucinations, delusions or behavioral changes. They might require ongoing care and supervision.

Stage 4: Early stage dementia

In this stage, the person may significantly impair cognition, behavior and movement. They may have difficulty walking, balancing, swallowing or controlling their bladder or bowel. They may also have fluctuations in their alertness, awareness and responsiveness. They may need help with most daily activities and personal care.

Stage 5: Middle-stage dementia

In this stage, the person may have severe cognition, behavior and movement impairments. They may need assistance to walk, speak or eat. They may also have rigid muscles, tremors, falls or infections. They can require care and assistance 24/7.

Stage 6: Late-stage dementia

At this stage, a person may have limited to no awareness of their surroundings and be bedridden, unresponsive, or in a coma. Complications such as pneumonia, sepsis or organ failure may arise in addition to complications like pneumonia. They may need palliative care and comfort measures.

Stage 7: Terminal stage

At this stage, a person may succumb to complications associated with Lewy body dementia or from other causes.

Symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia(LBD)

7 Stages of Lewy body dementia LBD symptoms vary between individuals, depending on age and circumstance. Some of the more frequently reported manifestations include:

Cognitive impairment

LBD refers to issues in memory, attention, reasoning, planning, and judgment. People suffering from LBD may have difficulty learning new information or recalling past events; following instructions; becoming disoriented or experiencing confusion and delusions.

Visual hallucinations

These vivid and often recurrent images appear accurate to a person with LBD. They may see people, animals, objects, or scenes that are not there. Hallucinations can be frightening or comforting to a person with LBD.

Fluctuations in alertness and attention

These are sudden changes in a person’s level of consciousness or awareness with LBD. People may experience periods of clarity and confusion, sleep or become fatigued during the day, with fluctuations affecting communication skills, task performance or interaction with others.

Parkinsonism

Parkinsonism

Parkinsonism refers to physical symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease. They include tremors, stiffness, slowness of movement, balance problems, and shuffling gait. Parkinsonism can affect mobility, posture, speech patterns and facial expressions of its victims.

Sleep disturbances

These include problems with falling, staying, or having a restful sleep. People who have LBD may also have REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), which causes them to act out their dreams while they are asleep and may cause them to punch, kick, shout, or move around in their bed.

Behavioral changes

These include changes in one’s mood, personality or emotions that affect his or her daily functioning. People living with LBD can become depressed, anxious, irritable, apathetic or agitated as well as show signs of paranoia aggression or impulsivity.

Causes of Lewy Body Dementia

7 Stages of Lewy body dementia (LBD) is a progressive brain condition affecting memory, thinking, behavior and movement. Here are the Stages and Causes of Lewy Body Dementia.

Alpha-Synuclein Protein Accumulation

LBD is caused by an abnormal accumulation of alpha-synuclein protein in specific nerve cells of the brain. This protein forms Lewy body clumps that damage and eventually kill affected cells. The exact reason why alpha-synuclein accumulates is unknown, but some factors may increase the risk of developing LBD. 

Genetic Predispositions

These include genetic predispositions, such as having a family history of LBD or carrying specific gene mutations that affect alpha-synuclein production or clearance. 

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors, including pesticides, metals or air pollution may exacerbate symptoms of LBD; more research must be conducted into how these factors interact and the underlying biology behind this disorder.

Treatment of Lewy Body Dementia(LBD) 

Treatment of Lewy Body Dementia(LBD)

There is no known cure for LBD; however, treatments may help manage some symptoms and enhance the quality of life for both those living with the condition and their caregiving partners. Some common approaches for treating LBD are:

Medications

These drugs may include medications to improve cognition, reduce hallucinations and delusions, ease Parkinsonism symptoms and treat depression and anxiety. Some medications may have side effects or worsen some symptoms associated with LBD; therefore it is crucial that an LBD person consult a doctor prior to taking any medication and monitor his or her response and tolerance level accordingly.

Physical therapy

Exercise programs can improve strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination; reduce falls and injuries; as well as alleviate pain and stiffness.

Occupational therapy

This can help a person with LBD maintain independence and function daily. It can also provide strategies to cope with cognitive impairment and behavioral changes and suggest modifications to the home environment to make it safer and more comfortable.

Speech therapy

This can help improve a person’s communication skills and swallowing abilities. It can also provide exercises to strengthen muscles involved in speech and swallowing and teach techniques to avoid choking and aspiration.

Counseling and support 

This can provide emotional and psychological support for those living with LBD as well as their caregivers, while also providing education about its management and connecting them with resources and support groups.

Conclusion

7 Stages of Lewy body dementia (LBD) is a progressive neurological condition that impacts many aspects of a person’s life, from cognitive impairment to behavioral changes, hallucinations, movement problems, and sleep disturbance. While no cure exists for LBD, treatments may help manage some symptoms and enhance the quality of life for those living with it and their caregivers alike. Early diagnosis and intervention are key in providing appropriate support services to people living with this disorder.

FAQ

What is Lewy body dementia (LBD)?

LBD (Lewy Body Dementia) is a form of dementia caused by abnormal accumulation of alpha-synuclein protein in the brain, making it second only to Alzheimer's Disease as a cause.

What causes LBD?

LBD remains unknown, yet many experts suspect it to be caused by both genetic and environmental factors.

What is a treatment for LBD?

LBD cannot be cured, but treatment options exist to manage symptoms and enhance quality of life. These may include medications, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, counseling services and support networks.

How can I get help caring for someone with LBD?

Support groups, respite care programs and in-home care services can all provide invaluable help for people caring for someone with LBD.

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