Dementia is a common problem for seniors in New Jersey and in other states. Lewy body dementia, or LBD, is one type of dementia that affects an estimated 1.4 million people nationwide. The symptoms of LBD can closely resemble those of other conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
LBD involves the buildup of Lewy bodies, which are made up of a protein in the brain called alpha-synuclein. The buildup of Lewy bodies affects the brain’s production of acetylcholine. LBD may be present on its own, or a patient may suffer from both LBD and other types of dementia related to conditions such as Parkinson’s.
The disease can affect memory, cognition, behavior, movement and sleep. The symptoms tend to become more pronounced as the disease progresses. Many people with later stages of LBD hallucinate, experience difficulty walking and have significant disturbances in their sleep and behavior.
The causes of LBD are not fully understood. There may be multiple genetic factors linked with environmental factors and aging that lead to the development of LBD. The disease was discovered by Frederick Lewy, who was studying Parkinson’s disease at the time.
Failure to properly diagnose or treat LBD may constitute medical malpractice if the patient was harmed as a result or suffered a worse outcome than they would have with proper diagnosis and treatment. For example, if a doctor prescribes medication that is contraindicated for patients with LBD and the patient suffers harm as a result, the physician may be held liable for medical malpractice. If a doctor mistakes a condition for a similar one and fails to provide treatment for the patient’s real diagnosis, this is another example of malpractice. An attorney experienced in medical malpractice may be able to assist individuals and families who have been harmed by the negligence of a doctor or other medical provider.