Lewy body dementia (LBD) is the second most common form of Dementia after Alzheimer’s Disease. It affects an estimated 1.3 million individuals and their families in the United States, but because LBD symptoms can closely resemble other more commonly known diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, it is often under-diagnosed and there is a good chance your primary care physician doesn’t even know about it.
Despite the disease’s prevalence, people with LBD have to see about three doctors before a correct diagnosis is made. In order to raise awareness The Lewy Body Dementia Association is leading the first national LBD awareness campaign, A Week To Remember, from October 10 to 16, 2010.
Lewy body dementia is a degenerative brain disease that has been described by caregivers as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and a psychiatric disorder all rolled into one. Early and accurate diagnosis of LBD is of critical importance because people with LBD respond more poorly to certain medications for behavior and movement than people with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, sometimes with dangerous or permanent side effects.
Recognition of LBD as a common form of dementia grew to prominence among neurologists only within the past five years, and general awareness of LBD as a disease has yet to make its way to primary care physicians. “Given the growing population of older Americans, at some point in your life LBD will likely affect someone you know,” said Angela Herron, President of LBDAs Board of Directors. “The general public, including many primary care doctors and nurses, have never heard of LBD. So in addition to trying to manage a very difficult disease, LBD families find themselves in the unanticipated role of educator and advocate.”
LBD symptoms include dementia plus any combination of: unpredictable levels of cognitive abilities, attention and alertness, changes in movement or gait, visual hallucinations, a sleep disorder where people physically act out their dreams, and severe medication sensitivities. The severe medication sensitivities in LBD make it a very difficult disease to treat without worsening already problematic LBD symptoms. At the same time, people with LBD may respond more favorably to certain dementia medications than people with Alzheimer’s.
To learn more about LBD visit www.lbda.org.
Source info – LBDA.org and Elderlawanswers.com