Lewy body dementia is a form of dementia caused by the development of protein deposits known as Lewy bodies in the nerve cells of the brain. In West Virginia and across the U.S., an estimated 1.4 million people have LBD, but the actual number is likely higher because of the frequency of misdiagnosis.

Why LBD is misdiagnosed

LBD generally affects people over the age of 60, and men are more likely than women to develop it. Besides this, though, there’s nothing that could help define what a typical LBD patient is. Doctors have yet to find out if environment or chemicals can contribute to the risk.

Another thing to keep in mind is that LBD does not discriminate. Even the healthiest, fittest people can suffer from it. Patients may get the best medical care possible, but without a neurologist to diagnose it, the condition could go unnoticed. Actor and comedian Robin Williams had the disease when he died by suicide in 2014.

More details about LBD

LBD is usually misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or a psychiatric disorder. Its symptoms include impaired motor and cognitive skills, fluctuations in one’s attention levels and hallucinations. Patients may also suffer from:

• Depression
• Apathy
• Changes in blood pressure

On average, patients live five to eight years following diagnosis. They usually die from an underlying condition like pneumonia, an infection or a swallowing dysfunction.

A lawyer to help with your medical malpractice case

When negligence is behind a misdiagnosis, even with regards to rare disorders, a patient may seek compensatory damages through a malpractice claim. If you believe you can do so on behalf of a loved one with LBD, you may want to consult a lawyer first. The lawyer might have third parties investigate the case and gather evidence. The lawyer may then handle all negotiations for an out-of-court settlement.