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LBD Awareness Month

It’s October! You know what that means–pumpkin spice, cool weather, Halloween frenzy, and LBD awareness.

The month of October is being heralded as Lewy Body Dementia Awareness Month nationwide. Texas also recently designated October as Lewy Body Dementia Awareness Month for the Lone Star state. The Lewy Body Dementia Association (LBDA) is determined to keep sharing information until Lewy body dementia (LBD) rolls off the tongue as easily as other well-known diseases.
Lewy body dementia LBD has mixed elements of both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, so it frequently gets misdiagnosed, according to James E. Galvin, M.D., M.P.H., Professor and Associate Dean of Clinical Biomedical Science, Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, Florida Atlantic University and board member of the LBDA, “A misdiagnosis, however, can have serious consequences in prescribing the wrong medications, such as worsening LBD symptoms or causing a more rapid decline.” Getting an LBD diagnosis takes an average of 18 months and visits to three different doctors. “Informing caregivers, patients, and the medical community about LBD is the key to receiving an earlier, correct diagnosis,” added Galvin.

Other Reasons Why LBD Awareness is So Important:
•Approximately 1.4 million people in the U.S. have LBD. Typical onset is after age 50.
•It is the second most common form of progressive dementia after Alzheimer’s disease.
•Studies show LBD caregivers are more emotionally, physically and financially burdened than Alzheimer’s caregivers, due to:
•Behavioral changes, leading some patients to be turned away from care facilities.
•Others not believing caregivers about the disease’s seriousness, because people with LBD may go in and out of lucidity.
•Movement changes, including muscle stiffness, slowness or tremor.
•Isolation because the disease is not well-known or understood.

What are Lewy Bodies and What do they do?
LBD is characterized by an abnormal build-up of Lewy bodies, which are protein deposits in the brain cells that regulate behavior, memory, movement, and personality. It impairs thinking, movement, sleep, and behavior—causing hallucinations or acting out dreams. LBD also affects blood pressure control, temperature regulation, digestion, and other autonomic body functions. While there is currently no cure, recognizing symptoms early can help ensure faster appropriate treatment and caregiver support.
“Let’s put an end to misdiagnoses, isolation, suffering and confusion,” said Michael Koehler, Board President of the Lewy Body Dementia Association “LBDA needs volunteers nationwide to help shine a light on LBD in their communities.”

This year’s awareness month theme is “Let’s Beat Lewy.” The general public, healthcare community and LBD families can help “beat” LBD in a variety of ways: