Prevalence of Lewy Body DementiaThe Lewy Body Dementia Association reports that up to 20% of all dementia cases are due to Lewy body dementia; that equates to more than 800,000 people in the United States. However, there are no other clear numbers concerning the prevalence of Lewy body dementia. Part of the problem with estimating an exact number is that Lewy bodies -- the hallmark of Lewy body dementia -- are associated with several diseases. This makes it difficult to distinguish Lewy body dementia from other conditions.
Causes of Lewy Body DementiaLewy body dementia is associated with deposits of the protein alpha-synuclein inside nerve cells in the brain. People with Lewy body dementia experience impairment in their perception, thinking, and behavior. They also experience visual hallucinations, Parkinson's-like symptoms, and fluctuating alertness.
The deposits are called Lewy bodies, named after Friederich H. Lewy, the researcher who first described the deposits in the early 1900s. Interestingly, Lewy bodies are also found in the brains of those with Parkinson's disease and -- sometimes -- even Alzheimer's disease, making diagnosis much more complicated.