If you've noticed a progressive loss of memory and mental functions, you may feel overwhelmed or unsure of what to do. Dementia changes the way you interact with the world, and it requires substantial changes in your day-to-day life. There can be many underlying causes of dementia, including Lewy body disease.
Diagnosing & Treating Lewy Body Disease at UVA Health
Lewy Body dementia patients and their families can feel confident turning to our Memory and Aging Care Clinic in the Adult Neurology Clinic for advanced diagnosis and treatment.
Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms, conduct a physical exam and take your medical history. You may take tests to narrow the cause of dementia, including:
- Memory, language and other cognitive tests
- Neuropsychological tests
- Patient and family interviews
- Blood tests
- Imaging tests take pictures of internal bodily structures. This can be done with:
- CT scan
- MRI scan
- SPECT scan
The only way to confirm Lewy body disease is through an autopsy.
Treating the Symptoms
No cure exists, but treatments can control symptoms.
You may benefit from:
- Physical therapy
What Causes Lewy Body Disease?
Lewy body disease results from the buildup of Lewy bodies in regions of the brain. These are abnormal protein deposits inside cells that play a role in certain aspects of memory, visual processing and motor control.
The cause of the build up is unknown, but we do know the disease occurs more commonly in men and in people over 50 years old. It's also more common in people with a family history of Lewy body disease, Parkinson's disease or other dementias.
The disease is linked to:
- Parkinson's disease
- Multiple system atrophy
- Alzheimer's disease
Symptoms of Lewy Body Disease
Lewy body disease symptoms include:
- Fluctuations in alertness and attention
- Recurrent visual hallucinations
- Poor regulation of body temperature and blood pressure
- Obsessive compulsive behaviors
- Parkinson motor symptoms, such as rigidity or loss of spontaneous movement
- REM sleep behavior disorder