If your loved one has recently been diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia, you're going to want as much information about the disease as you can find. One thing you should know is that Lewy Body Dementia, or LBD, affects roughly 1.4 million Americans. You should also know that it can be extremely difficult to obtain a diagnosis for LBD. That's because the symptoms can often mimic other disorders. However, once a diagnosis is made, immediate treatment is crucial. Here are four things you'll need to know about LBD, and how it will affect your loved one.

LBD is Not Alzheimer's Disease

When your loved one received the diagnosis of LBD, you might have immediately thought of Alzheimer's Disease. While both diseases are forms of dementia, they are significantly different. LBD is caused by a buildup of Lewy body proteins in the brain, while Alzheimer patients develop neurofibrillary tangles and amyloid plaques in the brain. Because of these differences, LBD will affect your loved one quite differently than Alzheimer's would.

LBD Does Come with Dementia

While you're learning to deal with your loved one's diagnosis, it's important to remember that they will suffer from the affects of dementia. However, unlike Alzheimer's when the memory deteriorates gradually over time, LBD can cause a rapid onset of memory involvement. With LBD, your loved one may have fluctuations in their ability to remember people and things. For instance, your loved one may have a vivid recall of everyone and everything one day, and have no recollection of anyone the very next day. This can be very difficult for you and your family to adjust to, since you have no way of knowing whether your loved one will recognize you from one day to the next.

LBD Does Have Cognitive Fluctuations

Cognition is another area that can be difficult to adjust to once your loved one has been diagnosed with LBD. One of the problems is that LBD can cause fluctuations in cognitive ability including attention, mental alertness, and sleep patterns. You may find that your loved one falls asleep for long naps during the day, regardless of the amount of sleep they got the night before. You may also find that their ability to concentrate will fluctuate from day to day.

LBD Can Cause Vivid Hallucinations

If your loved one has been diagnosed with LBD, they may begin to suffer from vivid hallucinations. LBD may cause your loved one to experience hallucinations involving people and animals. In most cases, the hallucinations will not pose any serious risk to your loved one. However, in some cases, the hallucinations can become so vivid that your loved one will believe that someone is seeking to harm them. If your loved one experiences hallucinations that cause them to act out violently, you'll need to speak to their physician as soon as possible.

Contact a treatment center, like Lewy Body Dementia Resource Center, for more help.