Introduction DLB are diagnosed through observation and tracking

Introduction

Alzheimer’s
and Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) are two separate but similar conditions. Alzheimer’s damages
the hippocampus, which alters the brain’s ability to store memories which
causes memory loss, the symptom the disease is most commonly known for.  Dementia with Lewy bodies, on the other hand,
affects different functions of the brain, specifically the ability to reason and
solve problems.
Although there are tests that can be taken out to more conclusively determine if
a patient has these conditions, in general, both Alzheimer’s and DLB are
diagnosed through observation and tracking the progression of a patients behaviour
and symptoms.

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Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB)

Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is a progressive type
of dementia that can go from confusion and different behaviour/ways
of thinking to a complete decline
in thinking, responding normal behaviour, reasoning
and eventually
normal, independent function in everyday situations. DLB is detected by the abnormal masses of proteins
building up into deposits known as Lewy
bodies. This protein, however, is also associated with Parkinson’s disease and Parkinson’s
dementia disease, which can cause difficulties when diagnosing a patient.
People who have Lewy bodies in
their brains often also have the plaques and tangles associated with
Alzheimer’s disease.  Plaques and tangles can cause
major tissue loss and the death of cells in the brain of an Alzheimer’s patient. Plaques are unusual clumps of “sticky” proteins called
beta-amyloid that build up around and in-between nerve cells.

Symptoms of DLB

DLB patients often
have a common symptom of becoming randomly confused about their
location or actions and they may not understand what
they are doing and/or their surroundings during the day. They
can possibly become panicked or frightened easily and be more alert than
usual. Another main symptom of DLB is a change in the way someone thinks, talks
or acts. Like most DLB symptoms, this change is not always easy to pick up
on at first however it becomes more noticeable as the
condition becomes more severe. This pattern is also seen in
hallucinations patients are known to experience, they often start out a small
figments of the imagination, such as animals, and progressively worsen into
complete delusions with the patients believing that certain aspects of their
lives are completely different to reality. The disease also has mutual symptoms
with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Someone suffering from DLB may experience
a different or unusual posture, stiff or sore muscles and problems staying
stable and balancing, much like many Parkinson’s patients. Alzheimer’s most well-known
symptom is memory loss and this symptom is also present in DLB patients. Though
not often as severe as that of Alzheimer’s patients, sufferers can experience
memory loss as both diseases damage the hippocampus, the part of the brain that
stores information as memories. This can also lead to patients being unable to understand
viual information.