Definition

Lewy body disease is a type of dementia. It causes a loss in mental abilities, such as thinking, learning, and judging.

Brain Cells
Neurons
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Causes

The disease is linked to a buildup of abnormal protein deposits called Lewy bodies that build up in the brain. These deposits play a role in memory, visual processing, and motor control. It is not known why they build up.

Risk Factors

Lewy body disease is more common in people over 65 years of age. .

Things that may raise the risk are:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Having certain genetic mutations

Symptoms

Symptoms may be:

  • Forgetfulness
  • Changes in thinking
  • Lack of focus
  • Confusion
  • Slowness when moving
  • Tremors
  • Problems sleeping
  • Problems naming things
  • Seeing things that are not there
  • Having beliefs that are not based in reality

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. Cognitive tests will also be done.

Images may be taken to help support the diagnosis. This can be done with:

The only way to confirm the disease is through an autopsy after death.

Treatment

There is no cure. The goal is to manage symptoms. This can be done with medicines, such as:

  • Cholinesterase inhibitors to treat changes in thinking
  • Memantine to decrease abnormal activity in the brain
  • Levodopa to treat physical symptoms
  • Antipsychotic medicine

Counseling and support groups can also provide support and guidance.

Prevention

There are no current guidelines to prevent this disease.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD
  • Review Date: 09/2019 -
  • Update Date: 10/10/2019 -