September was World Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. And now October is Lewy Body Dementia Awareness Month.
If you haven’t heard of Lewy Body Dementia or LBD, you’re not alone. You may have heard that it is the disease that the comedian and actor Robin Williams is believed to have had, and was not diagnosed before his death.
While Alzheimer’s Dementia is the #1 cause of dementia, it is not the only one. LBD is the second most common form of dementia, and is estimated to affect 1.4 million people in the United States alone.
The symptoms of LBD are very similar to symptoms of Alzheimers or Parkinson’s, which at first glance sound like very different diseases. There are usually three different presentations of LBD, which over time merge into similar signs and symptoms.
- Some start out with a disorder of movement which is diagnosed as Parkinson’s, and then when dementia symptoms occur it may be attributed to Parkinson’s dementia.
- A second way LBD can present is with memory and cognitive problems. This may be initially diagnosed as Alzheimer’s disease.
- The third presentation of LBD is neuropsychiatric signs and symptoms such as hallucinations and behavior problems.
Because of its varied presentations and because many medical professionals are not aware of its signs and symptoms, Lewy Body Dementia can be challenging to diagnose early. And people with LBD can have severe possibly life-threatening reactions to medications prescribed for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
More information can be found at the Lewy Body Dementia Association website.
Did you know about LBD before? Share in the comments!
To your Happy & Healthy Caregiving,
Ina Gilmore MD
Founder, Caregiving With Purpose
Purple Angel Dementia Ambassador
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