10 Signs of Lewy Body Dementia

Lewy body dementia as the name suggests is dementia caused by Lewy bodies. It is also referred to as dementia with Lewy bodies. In this condition, there’s a continuous and often slow decline in mental abilities.

Lewy body dementia comes directly after Alzheimer’s disease [1] dementia as the 2nd most common type of progressive dementia worldwide. Studies have shown a deposition of protein-like substances on nerve cells in the brain in this condition. The protein deposits were then called Lewy bodies, but they are a type of protein known as alpha-synuclein.

There is a steady decrease in motor skills, memory, and thinking ability in general. This is because the protein is deposited in areas of the brain involved in performing these functions. Thus, symptoms such as hallucinations, visual disturbances, a decline in cognitive abilities, tremors, etc characterize the presence of this disease.

Unlike other types of dementia, Lewy body dementia causes a myriad of defects in the brain. It has been seen to be much more complex than other dementias. There are early manifestations of this condition and they can occur some 15 years before dementia becomes full-blown. They include; constipation, hyposmia [2], dizziness, and visual hallucinations.

Because several conditions can accompany this disease, they have been divided into essential, core, and supportive features. Core features are signs and symptoms that have been determined to be very peculiar to this condition. They include the following.

Visual Hallucinations

Visual hallucinations are quite predominant at the early stages of the disease and they are often present in many people with the disease. Individuals can have a complex and flamboyant perception of their environment. The hallucinations usually involve visions of relatives, animals, or children. It is quite common to hear of ‘spirits’ of deceased parents sitting at the bedside. “Children” parading around the house is also often heard of from patients of this disease.

In less severe cases, some patients are aware that what they are seeing is not real. However, in extreme cases, they are not aware and these hallucinations can result in fear.