Dementia with Lewy bodies: The signs in your movement which ‘usually develop gradually’

Steve Thompson recalls signs of his early-onset dementia

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Around 100,000 people in the UK have this type of dementia, according to Alzheimer’s Research UK. The NHS explains that people with dementia with Lewy bodies not only experience problems with memory and judgement, like those with Alzheimer’s disease, but are also likely to have difficulties with concentration and visual perception.

The health body adds some people may experience slowed movement, stiff limbs, and tremors or fainting, unsteadiness, and falls.

Other signs include recurrent visual hallucinations, sleep disturbances, including sleepiness during the day.

The NHS says: “Symptoms usually develop gradually and become more severe over the course of several years.”

It adds: “People with the condition tend to swing from a state of alertness to drowsiness or staring into space. These extreme changes may be unpredictable and happen from hour to hour or day to day.”

Dementia UK says memory is often less affected than with other types of dementia but people may be at more risk of mood and behaviour changes such as apathy, anxiety, depression, delusions and paranoia.

The organisation adds: “One type of delusion, known as Capgras syndrome, in which the person believes that a friend or relation has been replaced by an imposter can be particularly difficult for families.”

The NHS says: “See a GP if you think you have early symptoms of dementia, especially if you’re over 65 years of age.

“If you’re worried about someone else, encourage them to make an appointment with a GP and perhaps suggest that you go with them.”

It states: “Other symptoms may include changes in blood pressure, body temperature and impaired sense of smell.”

The Mayo Clinic: “Lewy body dementia is characterised by the abnormal build-up of proteins into masses known as Lewy bodies.

“This protein is also associated with Parkinson’s disease. People who have Lewy bodies in their brains also have the plaques and tangles associated with Alzheimer’s disease.”

Dementia UK says Lewy body dementia is a progressive, complex and challenging condition which is thought to account for 10 to 15 percent of all those with dementia.

How quickly dementia with Lewy bodies gets worse varies from person to person, according to the NHS.

The NHS says there’s currently no cure for dementia with Lewy bodies, but there are treatments that can help manage the symptoms.

It states: “Medicine cannot stop dementia with Lewy bodies getting worse, but for some people it can help reduce some of the symptoms.”

In addition to medicine, there are a number of therapies and practical measures that can help make life easier for someone with dementia, notes the health body.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) says scientists are also learning about risk factors for dementia.

“Some risk factors can be controlled while others cannot. Age is considered the greatest risk factor.”

The organisation adds that people with this dementia may not have every symptom associated with the disease.

It says any sudden or major change in functional ability or behaviour should be reported to a doctor.

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