It’s not always Alzheimer’s: Getting the ‘Right” Diagnosis @AlzTO #InItForAlz

Each year 25,000 Canadians are diagnosed with dementia. Like many other health care professionals, we believe everyone needs to learn more about other dementias, including Lewy Body.

The Alzhiemer Society Blog is full of useful stories reminding us that it’s equally important for care-givers to socialize and seek out new friends that can offer empathy and a much needed break.

Please read and share these stories with your family and friends because it’s not just their disease. It’s ours too. #InItForAlz.

How does Lewy body dementia affect the person?

A person with Lewy body dementia may have symptoms much like those of both Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. A progressive loss of memory, language, reasoning and other higher mental functions such as calculating numbers is common. He may have difficulty with short-term memory, finding the right word and keeping a train of thought. He may also experience depression and anxiety. Obvious changes in alertness may also happen. He may be sleepy during the day, but wide awake at night, unable to sleep. Sometimes, he may seem like he does not care about anything. This is called apathy.

Lewy body dementia usually progresses quickly. Problems with memory may not be an early symptom, but can come up as Lewy body dementia progresses. Visual hallucinations (seeing things that are not real) are common and can be worse during times of increased confusion. The visual hallucinations often come back again and again, and typically are of people, children or animals. People with the disease may also make errors in perception, for example, seeing faces in a carpet pattern.

Some features of Lewy body dementia can resemble those in Parkinson’s disease. These include rigidity (stiffness of muscles), tremors (shaking), stooped posture, and slow, shuffling movements. Sensitivity to medication, especially some sedatives, may make these symptoms worse.

How is Lewy body dementia assessed?

No single test can diagnose Lewy body dementia. Doctors diagnose the disease by eliminating other diseases and conditions that can cause similar symptoms. Assessment may include a neurological exam that looks at the gait (way of walking), posture and how rigid or stiff the person’s body is.

Learn more about Lewy body dementia.


A Community News blog post

As part of our communications at West Toronto Support Services (WTSS), we write articles about events and news in the community that closely align with our agency objective of living independently and promoting your health & wellness.   An article posted under community news doesn’t necessarily mean we endorse them – they are articles of interest that you can pursue further.   We believe a healthy community is a diverse and connected community!

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