Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) is the second most common form of dementia, after Alzheimer's disease. It occurs when proteins, called Lewy bodies, build up in the brain.
LBD can affect thinking, movement, and sleep.
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LBD is a kind of dementia that happens when abnormal deposits of protein (alpha-synuclein) build up in the brain.
The protein deposits, called Lewy bodies, affect certain chemicals in the brain that are vital for:
LBD is the second most common type of dementia, after Alzheimer's disease. More than 1 million people in the U.S. have Lewy body dementia.
People with LBD often have:
LDB symptoms mostly affect people after age 50. Symptoms start out slow and get worse over time.
The disease is slightly more common in men than women.
LBD is an umbrella term for two related types of brain disorders:
In time, most people with LBD suffer both mental and physical symptoms.
Doctors don't know the exact cause of LBD.
But they do know that Lewy bodies are in the brains of people with this type of dementia.
The following may increase your risk for LBD:
Complications of LBD include:
Though the two disorders have some symptoms in common, LBD differs from Alzheimer's in a few ways:
LBD shares some symptoms with other types of dementia, like confusion and memory loss.
Other signs of LBD are:
It's crucial to have an expert diagnosis for any type of dementia.
Diagnosing LBD is complex because symptoms can mirror other types of dementia. Sometimes, a person will have more than one type of dementia at a time (mixed dementia).
There's no one conclusive test to diagnose LBD.
To confirm a diagnosis and rule out other diseases, your doctor may:
There's no cure for LBD at this time.
But the senior care experts at UPMC can help you manage its symptoms with medicine and other non-medical treatments.
There are some drugs that can help people with symptoms of LBD.
Your doctor will closely watch you if they prescribe any of these common medicines for LBD:
People with LBD may find some relief from:
The average time from LBD diagnosis to death is 5 to 8 years. But some people can live up to 20 years.
There are many factors that might extend a person's life span, such as their overall health and age at diagnosis.