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Monday, August 8, 2022
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What Is The Difference Between Parkinson’s And Lewy Body Dementia

Treatment And Care For Lewy Body Dementia

The differentiation between Lewy body and Parkinson’s disease dementia

While LBD currently cannot be prevented or cured, some symptoms may respond to treatment for a period of time. An LBD treatment plan may involve medications, physical and other types of therapy, and counseling. A plan to make any home safety updates and identify any equipment can make everyday tasks easier.

A skilled care team often can suggest ways to improve quality of life for both people with LBD and their caregivers.

What Complications Are Associated With Medications Used To Treat Lewy Body Dementia

Up to 50% of people living with Lewy body dementia can have severe side effects when treated with certain antipsychotic medications. These are known as the typical or traditional antipsychotics and include such drugs as thoridazine, haloperidol, chlorpromazine and perphenazine. This class of older, first-generation antipsychotics can cause sedation and make cognitive symptoms and movement problems worse. A life-threatening reaction to an antipsychotic medication, called neuroleptic malignant syndrome, is possible. Symptoms include rigid muscles, changing blood pressure, high fever, confusion and fast heart rate. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you or your loved are taking an antipsychotic and develop these symptoms.

Visual hallucinations and behavioral changes may be treated with the newer, atypical antipsychotic medications pimavanserin , quetiapine or clozapine . However, because all antipsychotic medications both older, typical medications and newer atypical medications can increase the risk of death in elderly patients with dementia, you and your healthcare provider should carefully discuss the risks and benefits and using these medications.

Other medications, like antidepressants or sedative antihistamines, may increase confusion in people with LBD.

Diagnosis: Parkinson’s Dementia Or Dementia With Lewy Bodies

During assessment, a specialist may look at when the dementia symptoms first appeared before reaching a diagnosis of Parkinson’s dementia or dementia with Lewy bodies.

If there have been motor symptoms for at least one year before dementia symptoms occur, specialists will often give a diagnosis of Parkinson’s dementia.

If dementia symptoms occur before or at the same time as motor symptoms, specialists will usually give a diagnosis of dementia with Lewy bodies.

However, it should be noted that in some cases of dementia with Lewy bodies, no motor symptoms develop at all.

Theres no single test – diagnosis is made through several different assessments, usually starting with an appointment with your GP or Parkinson’s nurse.

Some people find it helps to go to the appointment with someone who knows them well, who can give the GP or Parkinson’s nurse information about changes they’ve noticed.

Your GP can discuss your symptoms with you and carry out a physical examination, including blood and urine tests, to rule out other potential causes of the symptoms .

Your GP may also review your medication, in case your symptoms are side effects.

If your GP thinks you have dementia, they can refer you to a specialist, such as a neurologist, psychiatrist or geriatrician.

You might be referred to a memory clinic or memory service. In some areas of the country, you can refer yourself to these services.

But if you feel you need to see the specialist again, you can ask to be referred back.

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Two Of The Following Are Present :

  • Fluctuating cognition: Mental problems varying during the day, especially attention and alertness.
  • Visual hallucinations: Detailed and well-formed visions, which occur and recur.
  • RBD: Physically acting out dreams while asleep.

A DLB diagnosis is even more likely if the individual also experiences any of the following: repeated falls, fainting, brief loss of consciousness, delusions, apathy, anxiety, problems with temperature and blood pressure regulation, urinary incontinence, and chronic constipation, loss of smell, or sensitivity to neuroleptic medications that are given to control hallucinations and other psychiatric symptoms.

Finally, the timing of symptoms is a reliable clue: if cognitive symptoms appear before or within a year of motor symptoms, DLB is more likely the cause than Parkinson√Ęs disease. Signs of stroke or vascular dementia usually negate the likelihood of DLB.

Testing is usually done to rule out other possible causes of dementia, motor, or behavioral symptoms. Brain imaging can detect brain shrinkage and help rule out stroke, fluid on the brain , or subdural hematoma. Blood and other tests might show vitamin B12 deficiency, thyroid problems, syphilis, HIV, or vascular disease. Depression is also a common cause of dementia-like symptoms. Additional tests can include an electroencephalogram or spinal tap .

What Are The Causes Of Lewy Body Dementia

Difference Between Alzheimers Disease and Dementia with ...

The precise cause of LBD is unknown, but scientists are learning more about its biology and genetics. For example, we know that an accumulation of Lewy bodies is associated with a loss of certain neurons in the brain that produce two important chemicals that act as messengers between brain cells . One of these messengers, acetylcholine, is important for memory and learning. The other, dopamine, plays an important role in behavior, cognition, movement, motivation, sleep, and mood.

Scientists are also learning about risk factors for LBD. A risk factor is something that may increase the chance of developing a disease. Some risk factors can be controlled while others cannot. Age is considered the greatest risk factor. No specific lifestyle factor has been proven to increase one’s risk for LBD.

Other known risk factors for LBD include certain diseases and health conditions, particularly Parkinson’s disease and REM sleep behavior disorder, which have been linked to a higher risk of LBD.

Having a family member with LBD also may increase a person’s risk, though LBD is not considered a genetic disease. Variants in three genes APOE, SNCA, and GBA have been associated with an increased risk, but in most cases, the cause is unknown.

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Is There Any Treatment

There is no cure for DLB. Treatments are aimed at controlling the cognitive, psychiatric, and motor symptoms of the disorder. Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, such as donepezil and rivastigmine, are primarily used to treat the cognitive symptoms of DLB, but they may also be of some benefit in reducing the psychiatric and motor symptoms. Doctors tend to avoid prescribing antipsychotics for hallucinatory symptoms of DLB because of the risk that neuroleptic sensitivity could worsen the motor symptoms. Some individuals with DLB may benefit from the use of levodopa for their rigidity and loss of spontaneous movement.

Building A Lewy Body Dementia Care Team

After receiving a diagnosis, a person with LBD may benefit from seeing a neurologist who specializes in dementia and/or movement disorders. Your primary doctor can work with other professionals to follow your treatment plan. Depending on an individual’s particular symptoms, physical, speech, and occupational therapists, as well as mental health and palliative care specialists, can be helpful.

Support groups are another valuable resource for people with LBD and their caregivers. Sharing experiences and tips with others in the same situation can help people find practical solutions to day-to-day challenges and get emotional and social support.

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Cognitive Symptoms Of Lewy Body Dementia

LBD causes changes in thinking abilities. These changes may include:

  • Visual hallucinations, or seeing things that are not present. Visual hallucinations occur in up to 80 percent of people with LBD, often early on. Nonvisual hallucinations, such as hearing or smelling things that are not present, are less common than visual ones but may also occur.
  • Unpredictable changes in concentration, attention, alertness, and wakefulness from day to day and sometimes throughout the day. Ideas may be disorganized, unclear, or illogical. These kinds of changes are common in LBD and may help distinguish it from Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Severe loss of thinking abilities that interfere with daily activities. Unlike in Alzheimer’s dementia, memory problems may not be evident at first but often arise as LBD progresses. Other changes related to thinking may include poor judgment, confusion about time and place, and difficulty with language and numbers.

Treating Movement Symptoms In Lewy Body Dementia

What is lewy body dementia?

LBD-related movement symptoms may be treated with medications used for Parkinson’s disease, called carbidopa-levodopa. These drugs can help make it easier to walk, get out of bed, and move around. However, they cannot stop or reverse the disease itself. Side effects of this medication can include hallucinations and other psychiatric or behavioral problems. Because of this risk, physicians may recommend not treating mild movement symptoms with medication. Other Parkinson’s medications are less commonly used in people with LBD due to a higher frequency of side effects.

People with LBD may benefit from physical therapy and exercise. Talk with your doctor about what physical activities are best.

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Deficits In Attention/executive Functions

In the domain of attention/executive functions, DLB patients performed significantly worse on digit span backward and MCST than PDD patients. In 2014, Yoon et al. also found that the attention/executive domain is more affected in DLB compared to PD even in the mild cognitive impairment stage. A recent neuroimaging study showed that numbers of categories achieved and perseverative errors in the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test should be differentially estimated, because they reflect the function of different brain regions in patients with early dementia , i.e. categories achieved mainly reflect the function of the precentral segments, whereas perseverative error scores correlate with metabolic activity in the right thalamus.

Memory And Thinking Problems

You may experience forgetfulness, slowed thinking and difficulty concentrating. You might find it harder to follow conversations, and remember some words and names. This can make communication difficult.

You may also find it increasingly difficult to make decisions, plan activities and solve problems. This can make everyday activities harder.

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Is There A Genetic Link To Lewy Body Dementia

Being Patient: Is there a genetic link to Lewy body dementia?

Dag Aarsland: Yes. There are some interesting genetic links both with Alzheimers and Parkinsons, but there also seem to be very specific genetic changes with Lewy body dementia. Unfortunately, we know much less about the genetics of Lewy body disease because in general, there has been less research conducted in this group of patients, but we are working on it and there are recent studies demonstrating that up to 60 percent of the risk of disease is genetically determined. We are now trying to look into the specific genetic changes associated with the disease. Thats not yet clear. In order to determine that, we need large groups of patients and that is more challenging than with Parkinsons and Alzheimers, but we are working on that and the importance of studying the genes is that they will give us a clue about mechanisms in the brain and possible therapeutic agents we can use to help patients.

Being Patient: To date, have you identified any genetic variant associated with Lewy body dementia?

Caring For Someone With Lewy Body Dementia

Difference Between Alzheimer

Caring for someone with LBD, or any form of dementia, is hugely challenging. Just as LBD can impact every aspect of a person, caring for someone with the disease can impact every aspect of your daily life. Youll likely face tests of stamina, problem solving, and resiliency. However, your caregiving journey can also be an intensely rewarding experience as long as you take care of yourself and get the support that you need.

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What Are The Types Of Lewy Body Dementia

There are two types of LBD: dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson’s disease dementia.

Both types cause the same changes in the brain. And, over time, they can cause similar symptoms. The main difference is in when the cognitive and movement symptoms start.

Dementia with Lewy bodies causes problems with thinking ability that seem similar to Alzheimer’s disease. Later, it also causes other symptoms, such as movement symptoms, visual hallucinations, and certain sleep disorders. It also causes more trouble with mental activities than with memory.

Parkinson’s disease dementia starts as a movement disorder. It first causes the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease: slowed movement, muscle stiffness, tremor, and a shuffling walk. Later on, it causes dementia.

The Difference Between Parkinson’s Disease And Lewy Body Dementia

One of the most confusing concepts to explain in the clinic is the difference between Parkinson’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease Dementia and Lewy Body Dementia. Ultimately people with Parkinson’s can look very similar with motor and non-motor problems. This is particularly tricky when PwP first present but the easiest way to consider Lewy Body Dementia is like having a very aggressive progression of Parkinson’s where patients are dementing in the first year of their condition whereas this process is much slower when patients develop Parkinson’s Disease Dementia. Indeed, clinically Lewy Body Dementia patients look like they have a cross between Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, which is actually close to what is seen down the microscope when researchers study the brain. Understanding the differences between Parkinson’s Disease and Lewy Body Dementia is not only difficult for patients and their families but has led some professional groups to try and lump all of these patients together under one umbrella, which probably does little to help individual families appreciate what the future holds.

Hopefully this video will help you to gain a more complete understanding of the differences between Parkinson’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease Dementia and Lewy Body Dementia.

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How Is Lewy Body Dementia Diagnosed

There isn’t one test that can diagnose LBD. It is important to see an experienced doctor to get a diagnosis. This would usually be specialist such as a neurologist. The doctor will

  • Do a medical history, including taking a detailed account of the symptoms. The doctor will talk to both the patient and caregivers.
  • Do physical and neurological exams
  • Do tests to rule out other conditions that could cause similar symptoms. These could include blood tests and brain imaging tests.
  • Do neuropsychological tests to evaluate memory and other cognitive functions

LBD can be hard to diagnose, because Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease cause similar symptoms. Scientists think that Lewy body disease might be related to these diseases, or that they sometimes happen together.

It’s also important to know which type of LBD a person has, so the doctor can treat that type’s particular symptoms. It also helps the doctor understand how the disease will affect the person over time. The doctor makes a diagnosis based on when certain symptoms start:

  • If cognitive symptoms start within a year of movement problems, the diagnosis is dementia with Lewy bodies
  • If cognitive problems start more than a year after the movement problems, the diagnosis is Parkinson’s disease dementia

Do You Die From Pd Dementia

What is Lewy Body Dementia?

People with Parkinsons-related dementia often want to know how the disease can impact their lifespan. While people with Parkinsons can expect a similar lifespan to the general population, studies show both Parkinsons disease dementia and Lewy body dementia can shorten lifespan, generally due to medical complications from the disease, rather than the disease itself.

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How Can We Manage Hallucinations

It may not be necessary to treat all hallucinations of a person with DLB. Hallucinations are often harmless, and it is okay to allow them to happen, as long as they are not disruptive or upsetting to the person or his/her surroundings. Sometimes, recognizing the hallucination and then switching the topic might be an efficient way of handling frustrations that occur because of a hallucination. If hallucinations need medical treatment, your provider may be able to discuss and suggest some options. However, most medications used to treat hallucinations may make movement symptoms worse.

How Do You Look After Someone With Lewy Body Dementia

4 Tips for Lewy Body Dementia Care Visit live-in care providers early to make an educated decision. If LBD is caught early, in-home care might make sense before the patient is transitioned to a memory care community. Begin scheduling respite care opportunities. Use home care aides. Create an information & resource guide.

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How Is Parkinsons Dementia Different From Alzheimers Disease

The advanced cognitive changes that impact daily living in Alzheimers and Parkinsons disease are both types of dementia.

Parkinsons disease dementia can occur as Parkinsons advances, after several years of motor symptoms. Dementia with Lewy Bodies is diagnosed when cognitive decline happens first, or when Parkinsons motor symptoms and cognitive decline occur and progress closely together. Cognitive impairments in PDD, combined with the movement symptoms of the disease, produce a greater impact on social and occupational functioning than Alzheimers.

Alzheimers, a fatal brain disease, causes declines in memory, thinking and reasoning skills. Physicians can diagnose Alzheimers. Visit the Alzheimers Association to learn the 10 signs Alzheimers disease.

Fortunately for people with PD, Parkinsons disease dementia is less disabling than Alzheimers disease. People with Alzheimers have language difficulties earlier than people with Parkinsons, and no new memories are formed. People with PD also have more ability to compensate and adjust based on cues.

How Exactly Is Lewy Body Dementia Related To Alzheimers Disease And Parkinsons Disease

The Difference Between Lewy Body Dementia, Parkinson

Lewy body dementia is a broad, general term for dementia in which lewy bodies are present in the brain. Dementia with lewy bodies and Parkinsons disease dementia are two related clinical disorders that make up the general broader category of Lewy body dementia. Sometimes LBD is first diagnosed as Parkinsons disease or Alzheimers disease based on its symptoms.

  • Parkinsons disease dementia : You might be diagnosed with Parkinsons disease if you start out with a movement disorder typical to Parkinsons but then have your diagnosis changed to PDD when dementia symptoms develop.
  • Alzheimers disease : You might start out with memory or cognitive disorder that leads to a diagnosis of AD. Over time, other distinctive symptoms begin to appear and your diagnosis is then changed to dementia with lewy bodies. Distinctive symptoms of LBD include the changes in attention, alertness and cognitive ability changes in walking and movement visual hallucinations REM sleep behavior disorder and severe sensitivity to some antipsychotics used to treat hallucinations.

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