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The second most common form of progressive dementia may actually be more prevalent than people realize. The condition has symptoms that also match other common diseases like Parkinson's disease. It may even appear to be a mental disorder. This has led to many people being misdiagnosed. There are approximately 1.4 million people living with this disease in the United States today. It is known as Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) and everyone should be aware of the symptoms, stages and treatment options.
Recognizing Physical Signs
LBD sufferers will often become restless sleepers and may become aggressive during their sleep. Falling out bed and kicking or punching their bed partners is not uncommon. Symptoms that match Parkinson's like body rigidity, moving slower and difficulty swallowing cause the disease to be misdiagnosed. Some may have a loss of smell, incontinence and even smaller handwriting as the disease progresses.
Noticing Mental Changes
People suffering from LBD will sometimes become less alert, have less ability to multitask or problem solve and may experience hallucinations. Paranoia, particularly after they begin hallucinating, is common. Depression, a loss of interest in everything around them and anxiety are additional symptoms.
Awareness of Stages
One of the first stages of LBD is interrupted or restless REM sleep. It is possible for this stage to begin as much as a decade before other signs of the disease appear. Difficulties with complex thinking and becoming easily distracted are often the next symptoms to arise. The dementia stages may worsen slowly over time with the final stages of the disease leaving the patient with only a few moments of lucidity each day as well as extended periods of suffering from extreme delusions.
Finding Effective Treatment
Antipsychotic medication may actually make things worse for patients with LBD. This is another sign of the condition. There is no cure for the disease and not all patients will respond the same to their treatment plan. Information from Lewy Body Dementia Resource Center states that doctors typically help by treating the individual symptoms the patient is experiencing at the time.
It is not uncommon for sufferers and their family members to feel confused and afraid by a diagnosis of LBD. Many people are unfamiliar with the condition and there are a lot of mysteries surrounding it. Anyone diagnosed with Parkinson's disease or Alzheimer's but suffering from other unusual symptoms should discuss the possibility of LBD with their physician. Advice, guidance and support are available. To find out more, visit here for details.
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