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Dealing With Lewy Body Dementia

Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) is one of the most common forms of dementia, and can be confused for Alzheimer’s or schizophrenia. LBD either develops slowly over time or quickly in combination with other brain disorders, according to nia.nih.gov.

Typically, LBD will take a long time to develop noticeable changes in an individual. The lifespan associated with LBD diagnosis is 5-8 years, but recent studies show 2-20 years is another possible range.

First Signs Of Lewy Body Dementia

LBD is typically defined by three stages: early, middle and late. The beginning of LBD may include some mild delusions or hallucinations. These individuals tend to act out dreams while sleeping. Early LBD stages have also been shown to lead to slight movement difficulties.

Memory will stay intact in the early stages, but that doesn’t mean moments of confusion can’t happen. Slight cognitive changes will start to pop up at this time, as well.

These are the 7 stages of Lewy Body Dementia:

Stage 1: Normal Behavior

Stage 1 of LBD will go unnoticed by both the individual and their family and friends. These individuals will show no signs of the disease, and LBD will simply have no impact on their life at this point.

Stage 1 Symptoms:

  • No symptoms.

Stage 2: Mild Changes

Just like stage 1, stage 2 will yield very little noticeable changes due to LBD. At this point, memory issues may easily be passed off as a normal part of aging.

Stage 2 Symptoms:

  • Minimal difficulty finding words.
  • Normal functioning inside and outside the home.
  • Ability to overcome memory issues.

Stage 3: Noticeable Changes

For most people suffering from LBD, this is the stage where changes in behavior are noticed. Loved ones will be able to see changes in the individual’s reasoning, thinking and actions. Memory issues will persist.

Stage 3 Symptoms:

  • Difficulty paying attention.
  • Forgetfulness at times.
  • Problems at the workplace.
  • Trouble recalling names/words.
  • Trouble with money management.

Stage 4: Mild Dementia

Despite the mild dementia, individuals entrenched in stage 4 are generally able to recall friends, family and past events.

Stage 4 Symptoms:

  • Driving miscues.
  • Forgetting names and items.
  • Forgetting past events at times.
  • Daily routine issues.
  • Increased trouble managing money.
  • Forgetting where important items were placed.

Stage 5: Moderate To Severe Decline

For the most part, individuals should still recognize loved ones, but they will have increased trouble recalling the past, at the same time. Individuals in stage 5 may need help performing daily routines and tasks.

Stage 5 Symptoms:

  • Mood swings.
  • Personality changes.
  • Gaps in memory.
  • Bladder issues.
  • Repeated thoughts and questions.
  • Requiring assistance while eating/using the bathroom.

Stage 6: Severe Mental Decline

Memories begin to fade quickly during stage 6 of LBD. It is recommended to hire someone for round-the-clock at-home care.

Stage 6 Symptoms:

  • Getting lost.
  • Unusual eating habits.
  • Lack of awareness.
  • Strong personality changes/mood swings.
  • Difficulty speaking.
  • Delusions.

Stage 7: Severe Dementia/Final Stage

During stage 7, the individual suffering from LBD will no longer be able to recognize friends and family. 24-hour care is essential during this final stage.

Stage 7 Symptoms:

  • No ability to eat, swallow and speak.
  • Assistance needed while using bathroom.
  • Constantly disoriented.
  • Loss of bladder and bowel control.
  • Bed ridden.

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