Lewy Body Dementia Specialists London
Lewy body dementia is a common form of dementia that causes impairments in the brain, leading to gradual issues with mental and cognitive abilities. At Dementech Neurosciences, we offer a multidisciplinary approach to treating the symptoms of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). We have in-house speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, dietitians, psychologists, and psychiatrists who can work with you or a loved one to effectively manage cognitive symptoms of DLB.
What is Lewy Body Dementia?
Lewy body dementia (LBD) is the second most common type of progressive dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. It’s also referred to as dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). DLB occurs when protein deposits, called Lewy bodies, develop and clump together in nerve cells in the brain. When this happens, the brain sustains damage and a person may find it difficult to engage in day-to-day activities, such as controlling their movements.
Like other forms of dementia, DLB progresses over time which means symptoms tend to start out minimal and gradually get worse. Some people with Lewy body dementia become unable to manage their symptoms or look after themselves, resulting in the need for additional care at home care or nursing home support.
At Dementech Neurosciences, we have a team of private dementia consultants who provide expert advice and treatment plans to patients with DLB to help mitigate the symptoms for as long as possible. With early intervention and the right therapies in place, it is possible to manage the symptoms of DLB for a number of years.
What Causes Lewy Body Dementia?
It’s not clear exactly what causes Lewy body protein deposits to clump together, nor is it clear how the Lewy bodies affect the brain. However, it is thought that they somehow impact brain cell signals depending on where they are deposited. For example, if they’re deposited in areas of the brain responsible for movement, thinking, or seeing, this interference could cause the symptoms associated with DLB.
Lewy body dementia generally occurs in people over the age of 65 and who have no family history of the condition, but rare cases have been reported where it appears to run in the family. DLB has a similar outlook to Alzheimer’s disease, with most people surviving their diagnosis for six to 12 years. Life expectancy post-diagnosis is highly personal to each patient, and some people with DLB live far beyond 12 years post-diagnosis.
Currently, there is no cure for Lewy body dementia, and there is no treatment that can halt or slow the progression of the condition. However, there are a range of therapies and treatments that can help patients with DLB to better manage their symptoms.
What are The Symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia?
Lewy body dementia causes a progressive decline in mental and cognitive abilities. The symptoms vary from person to person and largely depend on where in the brain clumps of protein are settling. Some people may get clumps in the area of the brain that affects vision, whilst others will find their movement and muscle reflexes are impacted.
As the condition progresses, more symptoms may develop and begin to worsen. This usually means more support is needed to help patients live day-to-day.
The common symptoms of dementia with Lewy body disease include:
You may see things that are not really there, e.g. people or animals. These hallucinations often happen repeatedly and are realistic and well-formed. Hallucinations are among the first symptoms of DLB that you might experience.
Difficulty with sense of smell
In addition to visual hallucinations, you might experience hallucinations relating to your sense of smell. You may also find it hard to recognise familiar smells and match smells to the source. Some people even experience a complete loss of their sense of smell.
Issues with stability
You may experience periods of unsteadiness and frequent falls. Some people experience fainting spells and frequent feelings of unsteadiness. It’s also common for people with DLB to have issues with their blood pressure dropping, which can result in dizziness and falling over.
Changes in alertness
You may experience changes in alertness and attention, and experience periods of confusion that may be unpredictable and change from time-to-time. Some people with DLB stare into space for long periods of time, whilst others become drowsy and sleep excessively.
You may experience symptoms such as slower movements, stiffness in the arms and legs, and shaking or trembling. These can mirror the signs of Parkinson’s disease, with some people finding themselves unable to walk properly. Stiffness and rigidity can also lead to shuffling and falling over.
You may have vivid dreams or experience shouting or moving while sleeping. This can disrupt your sleep and may also cause injury. This is due to a REM sleep behaviour disorder which causes people to act out their dreams. Depression and drowsiness can lead to increased sleeping during the day.
There are other symptoms of DLB that a person might experience, including depression, issues with language, and problems exercising judgment. Memory loss can be a symptom of DLB, but it’s not as severe in patients with DLB as it is in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, and it tends to occur later on as the disease spreads.
It’s possible for people to experience symptoms that come and go, particularly in the early stages. For some people, the symptoms can remain constant, but in most people, they are not until the condition becomes more advanced and pronounced.
Over time, symptoms of dementia with Lewy bodies increase and get worse. This is generally over a period of several years. In the later stages of DLB, many people have problems with speech and swallowing, leading to chest infections or risk of choking.
What are the differences between Alzheimer's Disease & Lewy Body Dementia
Dementia with Lewy bodies and Alzheimer’s disease are different types of dementia, despite having some overlapping symptoms. Some patients with DLB are misdiagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, resulting in ineffective treatment plans and the possibility of taking prescription medication that isn’t suitable.
Understanding the type of dementia you or someone you care for is experiencing is vital if you are to learn how to deal with the symptoms. Some of the more distinct differences include:
Memory loss is more prominent in early Alzheimer’s than in early Lewy body dementia, although advanced Lewy body dementia may cause memory problems and affect decision-making, planning and perception. Alzheimer’s disease specifically impacts how the brain forms new memories, whereas, in LBD, cognitive function (e.g. problem-solving) is most affected.
Movement symptoms are more likely to be an important cause of disability early in Lewy body dementia than in Alzheimer’s, although Alzheimer’s can cause problems with walking and balance as it progresses through the stages.
Hallucinations, delusions and confusion with familiar people are significantly more frequent in early-stage Lewy body dementia than in Alzheimer’s. Typically, people with DLB will experience hallucinations as one of the first symptoms, whereas people with Alzheimer’s tend to develop hallucinations approximately four years post-diagnosis.
REM sleep disorder is more common in early Lewy body dementia patients than in Alzheimer’s disease patients due to disruptions caused by the autonomic nervous system. This can lead to symptoms that are similar to Parkinson’s disease.
Blood pressure drops on standing, dizziness, falls and urinary incontinence, are much more common in early Lewy body dementia than in Alzheimer’s. Typically, physical symptoms occur in later stages of Alzheimer’s disease, whilst they’re among the first signs to present in Lewy body dementia.
Lewy Body Dementia Diagnosis
Diagnosing Lewy body dementia isn’t as straightforward as carrying out one simple test. A number of assessments and tests may need to be undertaken to determine what is causing your symptoms, how advanced your condition is, and what the most appropriate form of treatment might be.
Dementech Neurosciences offers a wide range of cutting-edge diagnostic services specifically designed for people with DLB, such as the Dementech Biomarker Tools and genetic counselling appointments. By using the latest advances in imaging and genetics, we are able to answer all your questions regarding the diagnosis, prognosis, monitoring progression and response to treatment. We can also rule out other conditions or diseases that may be responsible for your symptoms.
We are also able to carry out most tests and scans within 48 hours of them being requested. This means you can receive a diagnosis quicker and early intervention can begin to help you manage your symptoms as best as possible.
Book A Consultation
Speak to a Lewy Body Dementia Specialist
0203 848 4500
Dementech Neurosciences are London's leading neurological clinic specialising in advanced neurological conditions such as Vascular Dementia. Book a call with our clinic to speak to a specialist on your condition.
The Lewy Body Dementia Diagnosis Process at Dementech
The first step in diagnosing Lewy body dementia is to have a consultation with one of our dementia specialists. This involves describing symptoms and giving an accurate insight into previous medical history.
To determine an accurate diagnosis, you will need to undergo a series of tests. These may include imaging scans and blood tests which will be carried out at one of the leading London centres. These tests will be able to determine the severity of the condition.
When we receive your results, you will need to attend a second consultation with one of our private dementia consultants. They will deliver a diagnosis and outline what the next steps are. They will also answer any questions you may have.
Patient Success Stories
Dementech Neurosciences prides itself on delivering exceptional patient care. Here are just some of our patient testimonials.
“My family and I experienced one of the hardest times of our lives having to deal with my wife’s deteriorating condition. I would like to personally thank the lovely young lady Zobiaa from Dementech, for showering us with compassion, empathy and genuine care and concern. Her professionalism, high-level customer service and communication, eye for detail, and willingness to go the extra mile to accommodate our needs and make not only my wife, but our whole family, feel as comfortable and supported as possible, is something we will always be grateful for. Thank you so much for your friendly and polite presence Zobiaa and taking the time and effort to build a relationship with us. You really made our visits to the clinic a positive, 5 star experience.”
“Dementech Neurosciences is a relatively new clinic specialising in the scientific assessment and treatment of Parkinson’s Disease. It represents a significant development in the treatment of Parkinson’s and has done a great job of establishing itself and its reputation in a short period of time. The premises are extremely well situated in central London, the consultant neurologists are all at the top of their field in their specialisation of the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease, and the clinical and administrative staff are of a similar standard. The atmosphere of the clinic is positive and the results, in the short period of time I have been able to assess, have been similarly positive.”
“Have had nothing but kindness and professionalism from Dementech and all their staff. From their initial guidance by Shakeela, through to staff conducting the MRI tests and Dr. Lucio D’Anna for his expertise clarity of explanation, compassion and consideration. Special mention to Zobia, who saved the day with her quick thinking that helped my mother-in-law to obtain extended care. Overall a perfect experience. Cannot recommend them enough.”
What is The Treatment for Lewy Body Dementia?
At Dementech, we have a team of dementia specialists who offer a multi-faceted approach to treatment for dementia with Lewy bodies. We have speech and language therapists who can help with communication symptoms, occupational therapists and physiotherapists who can provide assistance with physical symptoms, and psychologists and psychiatrists who specialise in maintaining cognitive function.
There is no cure for Lewy body dementia, nor is there any treatment that can slow the progression of the condition; however, there are a number of treatments and therapies that can be used to successfully control symptoms. They include:
Medication to reduce the frequency of hallucinations, feelings of drowsiness, and disturbed sleep, such as memantine, donepezil, and galantamine
Physical therapies to mitigate symptoms affecting, movement, speech, and day-to-day living, including occupational and physiotherapy
Cognitive stimulation to aid problem-solving skills, communication, and memory
Dementia-centred activities like going to drop-in sessions for support and advice
A care plan will be devised with the aim of allowing you to remain as independent as possible for as long as possible. This may mean looking into bringing in carers or finding an appropriate nursing home that can offer the right level of care and support. Changes may also need to be made to your home to make it more accessible and safe.
Our dementia consultants have years of experience in helping patients and caregivers through the diagnosis and treatment of dementia. We provide bespoke care plans for all our patients and ongoing advice and support to help patients and their loved ones become more informed and at ease.
We provide patients with the opportunity to take part in clinical trials before the general public can. Some of the pharmacological interventions may aid in slowing the progression of LBD. Paired with our therapeutic approach to treatment, we aim to prevent dementia from worsening for as long as we can, and we ensure caregivers have an active role in treatment where possible.
Our dementia consultants also provide support and guidance for caregivers. We understand that a dementia diagnosis can be hard to come to terms with and can cause high levels of stress, which is why we provide ongoing support to both patients and caregivers throughout treatment.
A pleasure to have the expertise, vision & support of Dementech, most especially the care and trust of Dr. D’Anna, Anca and the team!
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