Dementia is a condition that affects your ability to think, reason,
and process information. It can also affect your personality and
is progressive, which means it continues to develop over time. There
are several types of dementia with different causes.
Of the forms of dementia caused by degeneration of the tissues in
the brain, Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is a common type after Alzheimer’s
disease (AD). People with DLB have an accumulation of abnormal
protein particles called alpha synuclein in their brain tissue.
Alpha synuclein is also found in the brain tissue of people with Parkinson's
disease (PD) and multiple system atrophy (MSA), although the
location in the brain is different in these conditions.
The presence of Lewy bodies in DLB, PD, and MSA suggests a
connection among the conditions.
Facts about DLB
Dementia with Lewy bodies was first recognized as a diagnosis in the
1980s. Because the signs and symptoms of DLB resemble those of other
forms of dementia, researchers think that the number of diagnoses is
lower than the number of cases that actually exist.
Fluctuating effects on mental functioning, particularly
alertness and attention, which may resemble delirium
Recurrent visual hallucinations
symptoms, such as rigidity and lack of spontaneous movement
Other than advanced age, no specific risk factors for dementia with
Lewy bodies have been established. DLB generally appears between the
ages of 50 to 85, but it has been seen in younger people. Men are
affected by DLB slightly more often than women. If you have a family
member with dementia with Lewy bodies, you are at a somewhat increased
risk. Some studies have suggested that a healthy lifestyle might delay
onset of dementia associated with increased age.