Lewy Body Dementia and Alzheimer's

5 Ways Lewy Body Dementia Is Different From Alzheimer's
lbd-vs-alz

Lewy body dementia (LBD) is the second most common progressive form of dementia. It affects thinking, movement, behavior, and even sleep. While 1.3 million Americans have LBD, most people don't know the differences between Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia.

These are many ways that Alzheimer's and LBD differ, including these five key differences:

  1. Alzheimer's disease causes changes in the brain called plaques and tangles. LBD features the presence of Lewy bodies, which are misfolded alpha-synuclein proteins.

  2. In early Alzheimer's, memory loss is prominent, while in LBD memory is fairly intact. Attention and alertness are reduced in LBD, which may mimic memory problems, and problem-solving skills are highly impaired.

  3. People with LBD experience changes in movement that resemble Parkinson's disease, such as slow, stiff movements; changes in gait or posture; and tremor. (Parkinson's disease with dementia is one form of Lewy body dementia.) With Alzheimer's disease, movement remains normal until the advanced stages.

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  4. REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) is a risk factor for Lewy body dementias, but not for Alzheimer's disease. A person with RBD physically acts out dreams, which are often frightening, and they sometimes injure themselves or their bed partners. This can begin years or even decades before LBD dementia appears.

  5. While someone in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's may experience hallucinations, visual hallucinations are common in LBD early in the disorder.


about 2 years ago, said...

After two years of cognitive and motor dysfunction I was diagnosed in 2011 with LBD. I was heavily medicated for purposes of daily management. Benzodiazepines worsened symptoms. A classic LBD symptom. I was evaluated by neurology and psychiatry. Eventually neurology told me to "suck it up" and be glad I'm still alive. Definitive diagnosis Will be made at autopsy. Other than Skull base enhancement MRI Scan was negative. In 2013 I miraculously emerged from two years of complete memory loss. I now have transient symptoms. Mild motor dysfunction primarily. LBD or not ?? Interesting isn't it ? Losing two years of memory with motor dysfunction has precipitated severe quality of life changes. Decisions were made based on the LBD diagnosis. Decisions that I now wish could be reversed. More research must be completed before A LBD diagnosis should be made. I feel very sorry Who is going through what I went through from 2008 to 2013. Good luck. God bless


over 2 years ago, said...

Thank you for offering this information on LBD. Most of what I have learned about the disease has come from the Lewy Body Association,Mayo Clinic, websites and literature from the NIH. My husband was diagnosed with LBD in 2010. The behaviors are so unpredictable - times of total confusion moments of being fairly lucid, acting out dreams - swinging arms and legs ,generally tossing/jerking at times talking or shouting. Can no longer follow the sequence of steps to complete a task, early on to present visual hallucinations (people most of the time). Constant shadowing and clinging- wakes from a nap and looks for me - if he is awake and does not see me looks for me (asks "where are you- what are you doing - I could not find you " fact is I may be close by). Takes spells of wandering , most unnerving with this goes on in the middle of the night. I could go on and on with the behaviors. He has been seen by three neurologist, examined and tested by a neuropsychologist - had MRI/CT, physical & occupational therapy. At this time his meds are Aricept,Namenda,Celexa for the LBD. The meds for CHF and Macular Degeneration treatments - well, that's another story. Any one caregiving one with LBD has my complete sympathy and heartfelt prayers.


over 2 years ago, said...

Thanks for the clear easily understood write up on LBD. I plan to share this with the two all-male support groups that I lead. Gene Conrad


over 2 years ago, said...

I knew about LBD and Alzheimer's but didn't really know what distinguished the two. Now I know; I live in an assisted living facility that has a variety of people in here, from independent to fully assisted. I like to know the difference in the conditions just for my own benefit.


over 2 years ago, said...

very interesting


over 3 years ago, said...

My husband was diagnosed in 2008 with Parkinson's, but so many of his symptoms didn't seem to fit that diagnosis. Only a year ago, he was finally diagnosed with Lewy Bodies Dementia at the Mayo Clinic. This article helps to clarify some of his symptoms that didn't initially fit in with his diagnosis of Parkinson's. My husband has been acting out his dreams for years, and I've often slept with a pillow between us so I wouldn't get hurt. He also had visual hallucinations early on. We are eager for more information.


over 3 years ago, said...

LBD was completely new to me.


over 3 years ago, said...

I'd not heard of Lew's until now.


over 3 years ago, said...

from what I understand, the diagnosis process is part weeding out other things that could be causing the behavior changes. They do a series of tests, including but not limited to MRI< CT


over 3 years ago, said...

Our church is working on ways to support a beloved member who has been diagnosed with Parkinson's with Lewy Body. This will be helpful in framing what some of his issues are and will become. Thanks!


over 3 years ago, said...

How does one get a dementia diagnoses? My mother is acting very paranoid and thinks everyone is stealing from her. She does not want anyone to visit my dad without her there. She threatens to call police if we go visit dad. Seems like she is losing it can't seem to please her. Could this be dementia she is 88


over 3 years ago, said...

I am trying to figure out if my husband has some for of dementia. This shed the light on all the ways he has been changing, and finally something makes sense!