Lewy Body Dementia Essay
Lewy Body Dementia, also known as LBD, is a topic that hits home for me. My grandfather passed away a year ago and was originally diagnosed with LBD. My family had never heard of such a disease before it personally affected us. As I further researched the medical condition I came to discover that not being aware of this disease was not really an uncommon thing. Actually, it is considered to be extremely difficult to diagnose. LBD has close relations with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
This was a very hard condition for my family to digest and deal with. No one likes to see a family member deteriorate right in front of them, especially if you are extremely close to the person. In the following paper I will be explaining what this disease is, as well as the symptoms, treatment, and impacts that come along with LBD. Lewy Body Dementia is not an entirely rare disease, as stated by the Lewy Body Dementia Association, Inc. , “It affects an estimated 1. 3 million individuals and their families in the United States.
Because LBD symptoms can closely resemble other more commonly known diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, it is currently widely underdiagnosed. Many doctors or other medical professionals still are not familiar with LBD”. Also, this is a disease that must be treated by many different doctors accordingly as to not worsen other symptoms of the dementia. I can personally say that this statement is true, because there were many different nurses, doctors, and therapists that had to treat my grandfather for different reasons.
While it is not a very rare disease, most people are not really aware or educated on this existence of LBD, mostly because, “…it may take more than a year or two for enough symptoms to develop for a doctor to diagnose LBD”. Block backs up her article by using solid facts and sources about different kinds of symptoms that can come along with LBD. Some symptoms that may occur when a person is diagnosed with this disease can differ with every person.
When trying to spot LBD you should look for repeated falls, hallucinations, loss of memory and attention, and also aspects of Parkinson’s disease. There is a significantly visible mental decline in a person with Lewy Body that can result in, “reduced alertness and lowered attention span” also; there can be problems with the persons autonomic processes, such as, “blood pressure, body temperature, urinary difficulties, constipation, and difficulty swallowing” (Block). Just like there are different symptoms for LBD, there re also different types of treatment for the disease as well. As stated before, “LBD is a multi-system disease and typically requires a comprehensive treatment approach, meaning a team of physicians from different specialties, who collaborate to provide optimum treatment of each symptom without worsening other LBD symptoms. It is important to remember that some people with LBD are extremely sensitive or may react negatively to certain medications used to treat Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s in addition to certain over-the-counter medications” .
Doctors will use medications that have been originally developed to treat Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and use them to also treat Lewy Body patients. Sometimes these medications are proven to have more positive results for LBD patients than for those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. There are also different medications that can be prescribed for hallucinations and also problems with movement. This can all result in the patient taking a number of different medications at one time, causing side effects that will have to be corrected by the doctor.
Besides medication, other treatments are provided for LBD patients. Doctors also recommend physical therapy as well as family psychotherapy. Physical therapy can help strengthen the person’s limbs and allow them to prolong physical ailments. Also massage therapists can be provided for the patient to help provide comfort for the muscles and joints. While all of these treatments can help prolong the advancement of LBD, there is currently no cure for the disease. As a family member of a person diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia, being a caregiver can be very difficult.
There are many things that they must do in order to help the patient such as becoming as informed on LBD as much as possible. Also, creating a routine can, “help people with Lewy Body Dementia to have predictable routines, especially around meal times and sleep times”, and also helping to strengthen the patient’s senses and making behavioral changes can help (Block). Being a caregiver can become very physically, emotionally, and mentally demanding. Therefore, the person must also take care of themself while taking care of their sick family member.
In order to do this they should take regular breaks throughout the day. Also they should keep social ties alive with other friends and family members. When caring for the patient you should, “Recharge your own batteries and prevent isolation by seeing friends and keeping up activities away from care giving” this is very important to the caregiver’s good health (Block). Applying these things can be very hard for a person to do because you think you should constantly be tending to your sick family member and their needs. I, for one, can personally say that this is true.
Lewy Body Dementia is a not so rare disease that families are not aware of. It resembles Parkinson’s, as well as Alzheimer’s and has very similar symptoms of the two. Different treatments both medicinal and physical are available for LBD, but no cure in currently available. Personally, I can say that Block does a fantastic job providing information about Lewy Body. Her article makes it easy for the reader to learn about and understand this disease, and having a personal experience with this myself and can say that everything in her article is accurate and true.