What Causes Lewy Body Dementia in the Elderly?

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Lewy body dementia is one of the most progressive types of dementia diagnosed in seniors. The development of Lewy bodies, which are abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein in the brain, leads to nerve cell damage that results in problems with thinking, movement, behavior, and mood. Below are some details about Lewy body dementia, including causes of the condition and how to reduce the risk.

Causes

Lewy body dementia typically occurs in individuals over the age of 50, but some younger adults develop the condition for various reasons. The disorder is hereditary, so you should have your senior loved one tested for the gene, and make sure your loved one reviews his or her family history to determine if he or she is at higher risk. When an older adult experiences a buildup of Lewy bodies in the brain, the condition could develop. Tangles and plaques in the brain that are linked to Alzheimer’s could also cause Lewy body dementia.

Symptoms

Some seniors experience hallucinations and sleeping difficulties, while other individuals with Lewy body dementia have depression and poor cognition. If you notice your loved one moving more slowly, sweating, or experiencing significant digestive issues, he or she may have developed this disorder.

Other symptoms linked to Lewy body dementia include:

• Lack of motivation
• Dizziness
• Tremors
• Confusion
• Inability to focus
• Memory loss
• Visual-spatial problems

A highly trained caregiver with experience in caring for seniors with dementia can be a fantastic resource for family members. Families looking for top-rated home care service providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.

Diagnosis

To diagnose Lewy body dementia, a physician will look at various factors, including your loved one’s ability to think. If there’s been a progressive decrease in critical thinking skills combined with frequent hallucinations or decreased alertness, the doctor will likely diagnose your loved one with Lewy body dementia. Some physicians look for other symptoms, including those associated with Parkinson’s disease. Although a medical professional focuses on traits and warning signs of other conditions to diagnose the disorder, you shouldn’t try this at home. The diagnosis should come from a trained, experienced physician.

Treatment

There’s no cure for Lewy body dementia, but doctors can recommend prescriptions and therapy to treat many of the symptoms associated with the condition. For example, your loved one’s primary care physician may prescribe cholinesterase inhibitors, which increase the levels of the chemical messengers that boost memory and help with brain function. If your loved one displays traits associated with Parkinson’s, such as slow movement, the doctor may recommend carbidopa and levodopa medications to reduce muscle rigidity and other mobility problems. Some of the therapies that could treat Lewy body dementia include anger management techniques to address behavioral challenges and activities that boost cognitive function.

Even when families have the best intentions, caring for a senior loved one with dementia can be challenging. Fortunately, Home Care Assistance is here to help. We are a leading provider of dementia care. Sacramento families can take advantage of our flexible and customizable care plans, and our caregivers always stay up to date on the latest developments in senior care.

Lowering the Risk

Taking up purposeful hobbies and making lifestyle changes that promote brain health could lower the risk of Lewy body dementia. Your loved one should develop strategies to control stress levels, eat healthy foods that help with controlling blood pressure and cholesterol, and stay physically active. These tips could reduce the risk of Lewy body dementia symptoms and boost your loved one’s quality of life. 

If your aging loved one needs help managing everyday tasks or encouragement to adopt healthier lifestyle choices, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of at-home care. Sacramento Home Care Assistance provides professional in-home caregivers around the clock to help seniors live longer, happier, and healthier lives. Call us today at 916.706.0169 to discuss how we can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved one is being cared for with professionalism and compassion.