Lewy body disease is the disease that disrupts the normal functioning of the brain. This results into slow deterioration in the mental function of the person. Lewy body disease is generally found among elders, aged between 50 and 80. It is slow, progressive disorder. The symptoms of Lewy body disease are similar to that of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Lewy body disease is difficult to diagnose as it starts differently in different persons. Sometimes physical symptoms appear initially and later mental hallucinations; lack of alertness, confusion is seen in patients. In some patients mental symptoms are followed by physical symptoms.
Lewy Body Disease Causes
Lewy body disease occurs when lewy bodies, which are the abnormal protein, deposit in the brain. Lewy bodies are found in the mid-brain and in the cortex of the brain. Due to this there is degeneration of the cells in the brain.
It may co-exist with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
The cause of Lewy body disease is not fully understood. It can affect any person from all walks of life.
Symptoms Lewy Body Disease
Both physical and mental symptoms are seen in Lewy body disease patients. Physical symptoms are:
- Slow movements.
- Muscle stiffness.
- Repeated falls.
- Postural difficulty -Stooping and lack of balance is observed in such patients.
- Sleep disorder – Person acts out of dream, may become violent. Person experiences disturbed sleep.
- Fluctuation is seen in temperature regulation hence person becomes sensitive to heat and cold.
- Fluctuation in blood pressure can result into dizziness which is responsible for repeated falls leading to injury.
- Urinary incontinence.
Mental symptoms that are usually observed are:
- Limited attention span – This includes staring blankly in space continuously for long time.
- Every day there are unpredictable changes in their attention.
- Poor memory.
- Difficult communication – patient may not speak coherently.
- Difficulty in understanding the given directions.
- Visual hallucinations- Patient sees colors, shapes and animals that are actually not there.
Diagnosis: There is no test on which Lewy body disease is diagnosed. Diagnosis is done through detail medical history and physical examination. Doctor may advice brain scan and EEG to rule out other diseases.
Treatment For Lewy Body Disease
- Physical therapy will help to strengthen the muscles and to improve gait. It will also help to improve general physical fitness and flexibility.
- There is no cure for Lewy body disease but we can help the patients by giving them pleasant environment.
- Care-taker should understand their needs and give them repeated encouragement.
- One can help a person to cope with the disease by listening to them patiently.
Give repeated assurance to the person that he or she can live life to the full extent.
- Give them unconditional love so that the person with Lewy body disease lives the life with dignity and self-respect.
- Music may help them to relax. It will improve their mood and reduce anxiety.
Healthy diet and moderate exercise will slow down their further deterioration.