Lewy body dementia and why it’s so misdiagnosed

October 14, 2020 | Crandall & Pera Law
Lewy body dementia and why it’s so misdiagnosed

More than 1.4 million people in Ohio and the rest of the U.S. have Lewy body dementia. That's more than the number of people with muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy and ALS combined, yet doctors will often mistake LBD for a psychiatric disorder or for another form of dementia like Alzheimer's or Parkinson's. The total number of LBD patients, then, is likely higher.

What Lewy body dementia involves

LBD impairs cognitive and motor skills because protein deposits called Lewy bodies develop in the nerve cells of the brain. Patients may experience hallucinations, sudden changes in alertness levels, depression, trouble sleeping, apathy and changes in blood pressure. There's no cure for LBD. Patients with the condition usually live five to eight years after diagnosis and die as a result of an underlying condition like pneumonia or swallowing difficulties.

Why the condition is misdiagnosed

LBD symptoms can be confused with those of other dementia forms, and doctors don't have a clear idea of what a "typical" LBD patient looks like. They are unsure how it is contracted and whether environment or chemicals can contribute to it. They do know, however, that more men than women get LBD and that it tends to affect people over the age of 60. LBD does not discriminate between those who are healthy and fit and those who are not. Misdiagnoses might happen not due to the rarity of a disease but rather to the doctor's negligence. If you believe you were the victim of negligence, you must clearly prove that the doctor did not uphold an objective standard of medical care. You will need to fulfill a host of other requirements for a valid case, so you may want legal assistance every step of the way, especially during settlement negotiations.