Dementia associated with Lewy bodies (LBD) worsens over time. After a diagnosis, most people seem to live another five to eight years. While LBD cannot be cured, you can control its symptoms with medication.
The severity of symptoms, along with the individual's age and health, will determine the rate of the disease's progression, says the National Institute on Aging (NIA). Abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein develop in various brain regions, leading to LBD, a degenerative brain illness.
It usually manifests in those 50 and up, while younger people can also experience the onset of symptoms. Around 1.4 million people and their families in the United States are living with a form of dementia known as Lewy body dementia.
As an umbrella word, LBD encompasses not one but two medical issues. Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Parkinson's disease dementia are the two forms of LBD (PDD). In this piece, we examine the question of whether or not LBD is lethal. In addition, it analyzes how long people typically live after receiving a diagnosis and how effectively various treatments work.
Is it Life-Threatening?
The effects of LBD are fatal. According to the NIA, the disease worsens with time and cannot be reversed. No measures can be taken to stop the disease from worsening. However, some drugs can temporarily alleviate some of the signs and symptoms. Not every fatality can be attributed to LBD. Complications from LBD, such as falls or pneumonia, can be fatal.
What is the Average Life Expectancy after Getting an LBD Diagnosis?
The NIA reports that the median survival period for patients with LBD is between five and eight years but that this number can range from two to twenty years. According to National Library of Medicine data, the median lifespan is between five and seven years. The NHS in the UK estimates that persons have an average survival rate of 6-12 years after diagnosis, while they also acknowledge that some people live far longer than this.
Symptoms of LBD are treated alongside the underlying condition:
- Problems in cognitive processes such as reasoning, reading comprehension, recalling information, forming new ideas, and experiencing hallucinations
- Trouble moving around, like shakes and tight limbs
- Depression resulting from sleep disturbances
- Problems with swallowing, dizziness, and fainting
- Swings between states of sleepiness and confusion
Confusion, insomnia, lethargy, hallucinations, and motor difficulties are signs of LBD that can be treated with several medications.
In such cases, a doctor may recommend the following;
- Medications that block cholinesterase to alleviate mental illness from LBD
- Antidepressants for the treatment of depression and anxiety, melatonin and clonazepam for the treatment of sleep disturbances, and levodopa for the treatment of tremors and other Parkinson's-like symptoms
Antipsychotic medicines must be used by doctors with utmost caution when treating people with LBD. The signs of a severe adverse reaction to antipsychotic medication include but are not limited to:
- Difficulty thinking, dizziness and fainting from low blood pressure, fatigue, and confusion
The neuroleptic malignant syndrome manifests itself with the following signs and symptoms extremely rarely:
- Muscular tightness and tissue breakdown due to excessive temperature
Depending on the specifics of each case, doctors may propose a combination of treatments as part of a complete strategy for care. Possible examples of this are:
- Lifestyle interventions: Treatments called "lifestyle interventions" encourage patients to adopt positive, proactive measures to improve their health. Typical LBD therapies include maintaining an active social life, a healthy diet, and regular exercise.
- Occupational therapists: Care for oneself is a skill that occupational therapists help those with LBD develop. Activities and exercises are commonly used in occupational therapy to aid with skill development and maintenance.
- Physical therapy: To regain mobility and lessen discomfort, physical therapy uses exercise, therapy, and self-care.
- Speech therapist: Speech therapists are trained to help people with trouble speaking, pronouncing words correctly, and using sufficient muscle power when speaking or swallowing.
- Music therapy: More study is needed to confirm the efficacy of music therapy in reducing anxiety and improving mood.
- Aromatherapy: Anxiety may be alleviated using essential oils with calming properties, such as lavender, peppermint, rosemary, and eucalyptus.
Caregivers, friends, and family members of persons with LBD may benefit from attending a support group.
Long-term degenerative dementia (LBD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects the brain. Visual hallucinations, sluggishness, and muscle stiffness also indicate the condition.
Since this illness worsens with time, medical science has been unable to find a treatment. Life expectancy is between 2 and 20 years after a diagnosis, with most people surviving between 5 and 8 years.
LBD has no known cure; however, medication can control its symptoms.