Lewy body dementia is a common type of dementia attributed to abnormal microscopic deposits that damage brain cells over time. Dementia generally describes clusters of symptoms associated with brain decline and Lewy body can lead to problems with thinking, movement, behaviour, and mood.
According to the Alzheimer’s Society (AS), up to two-thirds of people with Lewy body dementia have movement difficulties when the condition is diagnosed, and this number increases as Lewy body dementia progresses.
“These symptoms are similar to those of Parkinson’s disease, and include slow and stiff (rigid) movement with a blank facial expression,” explains the AS.
Changes to posture can also spell Lewy body dementia.
“The person’s posture may be stooped and their walk may be shuffling,” warns the AS.
As the health body explains, the GP can do some simple checks to try to find the cause of your symptoms and they can refer you to a memory clinic or another specialist for further tests if needed.
“If possible, someone who knows you well should be with you at your GP appointment, so they can describe any changes or problems they’ve noticed,” it advises.
Am I at risk?
It’s not clear why the Lewy body deposits develop and how exactly they damage the brain.
However, there are some risk factors that appear to underpin this destructive process.
Recent studies have found several genes linked to a higher risk of Lewy body dementia, including a known risk gene for Alzheimer’s.
While these discoveries help us to understand the biology of Lewy body dementia, having one of these risk genes does not mean you will definitely develop the disease.
There is no test available on the NHS for these genes.
Published at Tue, 22 Dec 2020 13:19:00 +0000