What Is Lewy Body Dementia And How Can Physiotherapy Help
By Erik Parkin
Most people, at times are too embarrassed to discuss their symptoms with family or friends and are reluctant to visit a doctor. Which is why, many people are often diagnosed until the later stages of the condition.
Lewy Body Dementia is a multi-system disease and typically requires a comprehensive treatment approach, meaning a team of physicians from different specialities, who collaborate to provide optimum treatment of each symptom without worsening other LBD symptoms.
It’s crucial to note that some people with LBD are extremely sensitive or may react negatively to certain medications.
Early Symptoms of Dementia:
The early symptoms of LBD include visual hallucinations, fluctuation in alertness and slowing of movements, which can often be mistaken for physical illness, especially in an older person. For instance, someone with an infection might have visual hallucinations and they might be more drowsy than normal. These symptoms may persist long after the person has recovered from the infection.
Other possible symptoms may also include the person having falls, not necessarily due to obvious tripping. They may become extremely restless at night, thrashing and throwing off bedsheets in their sleep.
Other Symptoms Include:
Memory Impairment: forgetfulness, lack of interest, difficulties concentrating over long periods of time, difficulties with visual and spatial awareness, slower thinking speed and increased risk of mental confusion
Motor: stiff limbs, shuffling walk, and some tremor, slow and small movements (Parkinsonism)
Psychiatric: hallucinations, delusions (unrealistic beliefs), mood swings, agitation, aggression, sleepwalking, depression, anxiety and obsessive / compulsive symptoms
Sleep Disorder: falling asleep during the day, trouble falling asleep at night, difficulty staying asleep throughout the night, vivid / scary dreams, restless legs syndrome
Autonomic Dysfunction: fall in blood pressure (causing dizzy spells), dry skin, bladder and bowel problems and irregular heartbeat, poorly regulated sweating and body temperature
Currently, there’s no specific treatment for LBD. A class of drugs approved for improving cognition for people with Alzheimer’s disease can also be effective for people suffering from LBD. This medication helps improving cognition and control hallucinations.
Medications for other symptoms for other symptoms, such as Parkinsonism and REM sleep disorder, may also be prescribed. But please discuss the benefits and risks with your doctor before use.
Physiotherapy and other non-medical treatments, such as diet, speech therapy, and occupational therapy, can also help with managing some of the symptoms.
Physical therapy options include cardiovascular, strengthening and flexibility exercises, as well as gait training. Physicians may also recommend general physical fitness programs such as aerobic, strengthening, or water exercise. Get in touch with your professional physiotherapists and they will design the entire rehabilitation plan for you, if you’re suffering from Lewy Body Dementia.