How is Lewy diagnostic?

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The diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) can be complex and typically requires a comprehensive evaluation by a healthcare professional, such as a neurologist or geriatric psychiatrist, who specializes in neurodegenerative disorders.

The diagnostic process for LBD

  • Medical History and Clinical Assessment: The healthcare provider will begin by taking a detailed medical history, including information about the individual's symptoms, their onset, and their progression. They will also inquire about any family history of neurodegenerative diseases.

  • Physical Examination: A thorough physical examination will be conducted to assess the patient's overall health and neurological function. The healthcare provider will look for any signs of parkinsonism, such as tremors, rigidity, and bradykinesia (slowness of movement).

  • Cognitive and Psychiatric Assessment: Assessment tools and questionnaires may be used to evaluate the patient's cognitive function and mental health. The provider will assess memory, executive function, attention, and mood.

  • Review of Medications: The healthcare provider will review the individual's current medications and medical conditions, as some drugs and medical conditions can cause symptoms similar to those of LBD.

  • Laboratory Tests: Blood tests may be conducted to rule out other potential causes of cognitive impairment, such as thyroid disorders, vitamin deficiencies, or infections.

  • Brain Imaging: Brain imaging studies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scans, may be performed to look for structural abnormalities in the brain. These scans can help distinguish LBD from other neurodegenerative disorders and conditions.

  • DaTscan: A DaTscan is a specialized imaging test that can help assess dopamine function in the brain. It can aid in differentiating LBD from other parkinson disorders.

  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Examination: In some cases, a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) may be recommended to analyze cerebrospinal fluid for markers associated with LBD and other neurological conditions.

  • Neuropsychological Testing: A neuropsychological assessment may be conducted to provide a detailed evaluation of cognitive function and identify specific cognitive deficits associated with LBD.

  • Clinical Criteria: The healthcare provider will also consider established clinical criteria, such as the diagnostic criteria set forth by organizations like the Lewy Body Dementia Association (LBDA) or the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society (MDS), to help confirm the diagnosis.

It is important to note that diagnosing LBD can be challenging because its symptoms often overlap with those of other neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. Additionally, LBD itself can vary widely in terms of symptom presentation and progression.

A timely and accurate diagnosis is essential to provide appropriate care and support for individuals with LBD and their families. It is advisable to seek the expertise of healthcare professionals who are experienced in diagnosing and managing LBD to ensure the best possible care and treatment plan.

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