What’s Lewy Physique Dementia? Causes, Signs, Remedy

TW: This text accommodates point out of suicide. Please proceed thoughtfully.

As we speak marks the eighth anniversary of Robin Williams’s demise. The legendary comic and actor dedicated suicide in 2014 at age 63. Williams suffered from melancholy and was misdiagnosed with Parkinson’s illness, which performed a task within the “frustration” and discomfort Williams skilled in life, in accordance with his son Zak Williams who spoke final yr on The Genius Life podcast concerning the misdiagnosis. It was later found after the comic’s demise that he truly had Lewy physique dementia.

The mind illness impacted Williams’ considering, reminiscence, and motion management which bought in the best way of each his profession and household life, his son stated on the podcast. “There was a spotlight subject that annoyed him, there have been points related to how he felt and likewise from a neurological perspective he did not really feel nice,” he says.

“What he was going by did not match one to 1 [with what] many Parkinson’s sufferers expertise,” Zak stated. “So, I believe that was arduous for him.”

So why was Williams misdiagnosed? In line with specialists, there are various similarities between Parkinson’s illness and Lewy physique dementia. Maintain studying to study extra about Lewy physique dementia, together with causes, signs, and therapy.

What Is Lewy Physique Dementia?

Lewy physique dementia, additionally recognized Dementia with Lewy our bodies (DLB) is a mind illness attributable to an irregular buildup of proteins into lots known as “Lewy our bodies,” in accordance with Mayo Clinic. The progressive dementia results in a decline in considering, reasoning, impartial perform, and would possibly embody modifications in consideration, visible hallucinations, sleep problem, and gradual motion.

Lewy physique dementia “causes some or all the motor signs of Parkinson,” in accordance with Johns Hopkins Medicine, which may’ve contributed to Williams’s misdiagnosis. Signs like tremors, fluctuating cognition, and problem with motion all overlap. Alzheimer’s Association (AA) says the illnesses could be linked to the identical underlying mind abnormalities.

How Is Lewy Physique Dementia Recognized?

In line with the National Institute for Aging (NIA), there is ongoing research to diagnose Lewy body dementia earlier in life, but currently the only way to definitively confirm it is through a brain autopsy conducted after death. What doctors may do is use your current signs and symptoms to rule out other conditions. Still, in the early stages, dementia with lewy bodies is hard to distinguish from Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Most individuals recognized with the Lewy physique dementia are over 60, and it is extra widespread in males, per the Mayo Clinic, which put Williams within the increased threat class as he was 63 when he died. Household historical past of the illness additionally will increase the chance of growing Lewy physique dementia, although it is not thought of a genetic illness.

Can Lewy Physique Dementia Be Handled or Cured?

Sadly, there isn’t a treatment for Lewy physique dementia, so therapy focuses on managing signs, says the NIA. Behavioral and temper modifications worsen as considering talents decline, making melancholy, apathy, agitation, paranoia, and delusions widespread. Sure Alzheimer’s illness drugs and Parkinson’s illness drugs could also be used to handle signs. Non-drug approaches may be useful. Sure life-style modifications, like modifying your surroundings and creating each day routines, may support in symptom reduction, per the Mayo Clinic. It’s endorsed to work with each a neurologist who focuses on dementia, along with a counselor to supply emotional assist.

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