Why lifespan of Lewy body dementia patients is about five years –Psychiatrist

A Consultant Psychiatrist at the Federal Neuropsychiatrist Hospital, Yaba, Dr. Dapo Adegbaju says the lifespan of patients diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia is about five years after diagnosis.

According to Adegbaju, the prognosis for the health condition is poor because its symptoms progressively get worse.

Dementia with Lewy Bodies also known as Lewy Body Dementia is a type of progressive dementia that leads to a decline in thinking, reasoning, and independent function because of abnormal microscopic deposits that damage brain cells over time.

Speaking with UGAMATV, Dr. Adegbaju said Lewy bodies are plaques that are proteinous deposited in the areas of the brain that controls thinking, movement, and memory. 

According to him, Lewy Body Dementia is the second most common type of progressive dementia after Alzheimer’s disease.

Dementia is a syndrome in which there is deterioration in cognitive function beyond what might be expected from the usual consequences of biological aging. Dementia is currently the seventh leading cause of death among all diseases and one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people globally

Adegbaju said the cause of the disorder is mostly unknown “but there have been theories about genetics especially with the coding for the protein causing it but the disease is more common in males than females. 

“The prevalence of the disease in Nigeria is not known. Although the prevalence of all types of dementia is about 5 per cent.

“People with Lewy Body Dementia may have hallucinations, poor sleep, poor concentration, movement issues leading to falls most times, and poor memory.”

The psychiatrist noted that Lewy Body Dementia is progressive and the symptoms worsen, causing depression, fractures, bleeding into the brain, anxiety, agitation, and restlessness

“Diagnosis is made by a psychiatrist who will notice a decline in cognitive abilities, memory, and movement. Magnetic Resonance Imaging may help but the definitive diagnosis is at autopsy.

“Lewy Body Dementia has no cure but can be managed with physical and occupational therapies as well as medications. It can be prevented by managing all physical illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, lipid issues, engaging in regular exercise, sleeping well, staying mentally fit, and eating a balanced diet.

“It is better prevented than treated,” he said.

According to an online portal, Lewy Body Dementia is a term that covers two conditions that have similar symptoms. One is dementia with Lewy bodies, and the other is Parkinson’s disease dementia.

“When you think of dementia, the first thing that comes to mind might be Alzheimer’s disease. The two conditions differ in that Alzheimer’s involves extreme memory problems, and Lewy Body Dementia is more likely to affect how you process information. In addition, Lewy Body Dementia causes physical symptoms such as tremor and muscle stiffness,” it noted.

It added that there’s no way to stop the progression of Lewy Body Dementia as it will continue to affect cognitive abilities and motor functions and require lifelong medical care. 

“Some symptoms can be managed, but medications must be monitored and adjusted as needed.

“A person with LBD will need the assistance provided by family and professional caregivers. Average life expectancy is eight years after the onset of symptoms,” it said.

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