Lewy Body Disease
(Lewy Body Dementia; Dementia with Lewy Bodies)
DefinitionLewy body disease is a type of dementia. Dementia is the progressive loss of memory and various other mental functions, including the ability to learn, reason, and judge.
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CausesLewy body disease is associated with the build up 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 and motor control. It is not clear exactly what causes the build up of Lewy bodies in the brain.
Risk FactorsLewy body disease is more common in men, and in people over 50 years old. It is also more common in people with a family history of Lewy body disease, Parkinson's disease, or other dementias. The disease is linked to:
SymptomsLewy body disease is characterized by:
- Fluctuations in alertness and attention—frequent drowsiness, lethargy, staring into space, disorganized speech, and insomnia
- Recurrent visual hallucinations
- Poor regulation of body temperature and blood pressure
- Obsessive compulsive behaviors
- Parkinsonian motor symptoms, such as rigidity or loss of spontaneous movement
- REM sleep behavior disorder
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