What is Lewy Body Dementia and how to prevent Dementia?
What is Dementia?
Dementia is a medical condition that describes various cognitive decline functions, such as forgetfulness. It is basically a symptom of brain disorders and several underlying conditions.
Dementia is a widely used term for symptoms affecting communication, memory, and thinking. Although the chances of having dementia increase with age, it is not a normal part of aging.
Types and causes of dementia may include vascular dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, Lewy body dementia (which may concern Parkinson’s disease), and mixed dementia.
Experts may also refer to these conditions as Alzheimer’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease-related dementias. This article will help you know more about dementia.
Lewy Body Dementia
Lewy bodies are protein clumps that can form in the brain. If they build up in the body, it can cause problems with the way your brain functions, including your movement, memory, mood, thinking skills, and behavior.
Lewy body dementia keeps you from performing everyday tasks or taking care of yourself and is one of the most common types of dementia following Alzheimer’s disease. LBD usually occurs in people who are of 50 years or more.
Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) Types
- Dementia with Lewy bodies usually begins when you find difficulty moving your body. Within a span of one year, you start to have thinking or memory problems similar to Alzheimer’s disease, together with behavior changes and hallucinations.
- Parkinson’s disease dementia begins with movement problems. Memory troubles happen much later in this condition.
Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) Causes
Lewy bodies comprise a protein, namely, alpha-synuclein. When they accumulate in the brain, they obstruct it from making the correct quantity of two necessary chemicals. One of them, dopamine, affects your mood, how you move, and your sleep. The other, acetylcholine, affect your learning skills and memory.
Scientists are not much sure about what makes LBD start to build up in the brain. They are also not sure about the reason why some people get LBD. Hence, they are unable to find any medication for Lewy Body Dementia yet.
Some medical conditions worsen your old of getting LBD. People with REM sleep behavior disorder or Parkinson’s disease have a higher risk of Lewy Body Dementia.
Symptoms of dementia depend upon the type of medical condition a person has, but they usually include:
- Memory problems: asking the same thing repeatedly; difficulty understanding or finding words to speak; issues dealing with money and numbers; feeling confused in an unfamiliar environment;
- Anxiety and withdrawal: mood changes; difficulty planning and carrying out tasks; personality and behavior changes; sleep disturbances; obsessive tendencies;
- changes in social awareness, resulting in an individual making inappropriate jokes
Early symptoms of this medical condition vary between types but usually include:
- Forgetfulness; changes in mood; anger, anxiety, or depression;
- confusion; apathy; difficulty finding the right words; repeating speech or actions;
- difficulty adapting the changes, completing daily tasks, and following a storyline or recounting a story;
- a reduced sense of direction; or leaving everyday items in unusual places
Vascular dementia (or multi-infarct dementia) is one of the most common causes of dementia in older people. Since it is less known than Alzheimer’s, people do not suspect this condition when forgetfulness becomes problematic.
Vascular dementia happens when a specific part of the brain does not receive enough blood carrying the amount of oxygen and nutrients it needs. Both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia happen differently; it is possible to have both conditions simultaneously.
Vascular Dementia Causes
This medical condition occurs when blood vessels block or narrow that supply blood to the brain. When there is an obstruction in the supply of blood carrying oxygen to the brain, strokes take place. However, not everyone with a stroke develops vascular dementia.
Vascular dementia occurs precisely when the impact of various strokes adds up to a significant disability. Controlling risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and smoking can help curb risks concerning vascular dementia.
Catching the condition early may also help limit the impact and severity of this medical condition. Early detection needs an awareness of risk factors and reasonable efforts to keep them under control. If you have suspected vascular dementia, consult your medical healthcare provider.
There are roughly three stages of Dementia: early, middle, and late. Here is a brief detailing of the Dementia stages:
Early Stage: At this stage, a person’s behavior does not feel like dementia. They may:
- lose track of time
- become more forgetful
- feel lost in familiar locations
Middle Stage: At this stage, the condition of an individual become more noticeable and include:
- feeling lost when at home; difficulty communicating;
- forgetting names and recent events; behavioral changes;
- need help with personal care;
- repeatedly asking questions
Last Stage: At this stage, an individual needs full-time assistance, as the impact of the medical condition typically becomes more moderate or severe. The person may:
- be unaware of the time and where they are; difficulty in walking;
- face difficulty recognizing loved ones;
- experience behavioral changes, including aggression
What Causes Dementia?
Alzheimer’s disease and some other types of dementia result from the progressive death of brain cells and neurons. It develops gradually and worsens over time. However, head injuries, brain tumors, stroke, and other issues may also cause dementia.
A stroke can obstruct the blood and oxygen from reaching brain cells, causing damage and cell death. Getting a direct blow to the head can also damage brain cells. Some forms of traumatic brain injury, particularly if repetitive, happen while playing some sports, may also increase the risk of specific dementia types later in life.
Some other factors with similar symptoms include the use of some medications, depression, thyroid problems, vitamin B12 or E deficiency, or some infections (such as neurosyphilis or HIV).
How to prevent Dementia?
In most cases, it is impossible to prevent dementia. However, the WHO (World Health Organization) suggests following habits may lessen the risk:
- exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining a moderate weight;
- avoiding smoking, limiting consumption of alcohol;
- taking treatment for conditions such as high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and high sugar levels
Wearing protective headgear while playing contact sports can help lessen the risk of repeated sustaining head injuries, which may become a risk factor for dementia.