The late (and much missed) actor Robin Williams suffered from Lewy body dementia, a condition I’d never heard of until now.
So what is it?
According to Alzheimer’s Australia, it is a common form of dementia, similar to Alzheimer’s disease. There is no known cause and no known risk factors.
Symptoms include confusion, inability to maintain concentration, difficulty judging distance, hallucinations, tremors, stiffness, delusions, depression.
Alzheimer’s Australia says: “Lewy body disease differs from Alzheimer’s disease in that the progression of the disease is usually more rapid. However, like Alzheimer’s disease it is a degenerative condition, eventually leading to complete dependence. Death is usually a result of another illness, such as pneumonia or an infection. The average lifespan after the onset of symptoms is about seven years.”
At the moment, there is no cure for Lewy body disease. Medication, though, can help manage symptoms such as depression and hallucinations. Such medications may have consequences though and exasperate other LBD symptoms, such as Parkinson-like tremors and stiffness.