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Ensuring an accurate diagnosis for LBD

Pennsylvania residents may want to know what the different forms of dementia are before they speak with a physician. It's especially important to get an early diagnosis of Lewy body dementia because early treatment can benefit those with LBD more so than those with Alzheimer's. An accurate diagnosis is equally important because those with LBD can suffer severe side effects from certain medications for behavior and movement.

Alzheimer's disease is characterized by the loss of recent memory, language problems, anxiety and personality changes. Another form of dementia is vascular dementia where a series of small strokes deprive the brain of oxygen. Its symptoms include walking with rapid, shuffling steps and laughing or crying at inappropriate times. Frontotemporal dementia is an umbrella term for several disorders that affect personality and behavior.

LBD can develop as a cognitive, movement or neurological disorder. The last is the rarest with patients experiencing hallucinations and difficulty with complex mental activities. It leads to the initial diagnosis of "dementia with Lewy bodies."

If LBD begins as a memory or cognitive disorder, it resembles Alzheimer's but is differentiated by unpredictable levels of cognitive ability, changes in walking and the physical acting out of dreams, also known as REM sleep behavior disorder. Those with a movement disorder are usually diagnosed with Parkinson's disease before LBD is correctly detected.

The failure to diagnose Lewy body dementia can lead to serious consequences, but patients might wish to consult with a lawyer about filing a medical malpractice claim and, if successful, being compensated for their past and future medical expenses, lost income, emotional trauma and other losses. A lawyer may be able to review the victim's medical records and bring in third-party medical professionals in an attempt to establish that the patient's doctor was, indeed, negligent. The lawyer may then negotiate for a reasonable settlement.

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