Lewy-Body Dementia (LBD) differs significantly from Alzheimer's disease, with distinct cognitive changes and a wide range of symptoms. Nance Tobar, a caregiver for her father with LBD, shed light on the unique challenges associated with this condition.
Nance's father, Joe, experienced a misdiagnosis that led to severe cognitive decline due to the specific pathology of LBD. Hospitalization following a fall resulted in a change in Joe's medications, including the removal of a drug that stabilized his memory. Consequently, the family lost precious years with their father.
Early and accurate diagnosis is crucial for LBD patients, as their reactions to certain medications can differ from those with other forms of dementia. Some drugs can exacerbate LBD symptoms, such as antipsychotics, which can be fatal for individuals with LBD. Fortunately, Nance received a warning about this potential danger before administering the medication to Joe.
LBD is the second most common form of dementia and can present with three main manifestations: movement issues, cognitive impairment, or neuropsychiatric symptoms like hallucinations, which Joe experienced. Regardless of the initial symptom, all presentations of LBD eventually develop similar cognitive, physical, sleep, and behavioral features.
Common LBD symptoms include impaired thinking (loss of executive function and memory), fluctuations in attention, movement problems, visual hallucinations, sleep disorders, mood changes, and alterations in body functions like blood pressure and bladder control.
To highlight the lack of understanding between LBD and Alzheimer's, Nance shared her personal story. Her experience during her father's hospitalization was challenging due to the absence of a proper diagnosis. Nance, who participates in a caregiver support group, expressed common feelings of guilt. However, she recognizes that she is doing her best to care for her father and aims to help other families by sharing her journey.
Even if one is not directly involved in caring for someone with LBD, Nance's insights offer valuable knowledge about senior health issues and foster compassion. Understanding the challenges faced by individuals with LBD enables better support and assistance for those in need.
Until next week, hang in there!
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