Lewy body dementia is the second most common type of dementia (the first being Alzheimer’s disease). One of the “first symptoms” of the condition is visual hallucinations. Hallucinations means a person is seeing things that aren’t really there, the Mayo Clinic explained. Often recurring, people with Lewy body dementia might hallucinate shapes, animals, or people.
Aside from visual hallucinations, auditory, olfactory, and tactile hallucinations are also all possible.
Auditory hallucinations involve hearing sounds that aren’t really there, while olfactory hallucinations are smelling aromas that no one else can smell.
Tactile hallucination might involve feeling as though something is crawling inside or on the skin.
Lewy body dementia can also lead to “Parkinsonian signs” such as:
- Slowed movement
- Rigid muscles
- A shuffling walk.
Cognitive issues might include: confusion, poor attention, visual-spatial issues, and memory loss.
Dementia UK added: “Memory is often less affected than with other types of dementia.
“But people may be at more risk of mood and behaviour changes such as apathy, anxiety, depression, delusions and paranoia.”
The correct diagnosis is paramount when it comes to Lewy body dementia.
At first, the condition may be mistaken for Alzheimer’s disease, but any of these symptoms need to be brought to the attention of a medical professional.
Other symptoms of Lewy body dementia that need to be discussed with a doctor include:
- Intense dreams/nightmares
- Sudden changes and fluctuations in alertness
- Balance issues and prone to falls
- Bladder and bowel difficulties
- Difficulties with swallowing.
In order for a medical diagnosis to take place, a discussion of symptoms alongside a SPECT scan is usually necessary.
The charity noted that medication can help to improve symptoms of the brain condition.
Other supportive treatments might include physiotherapy, occupational threat, counselling, cognitive stimulation therapy, and music.
Dementia UK offers one-to-one support for those affected by dementia via Admiral Nurses.
Admiral Nurses are nurses with experience in dementia care, who provide a free dementia help line on 0800 888 6678.
The lines are open Monday to Friday, from 9am to 9pm; weekends are open from 9am to 5pm.