Lewy body dementia (LBD) is not a well-known form of dementia, yet the fact is that more than 1.4 million people in Tennessee and across the U.S. have it. That’s more than the number of patients with ALS, cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy combined. Doctors say that the number is even higher because many LBD patients are misdiagnosed as having Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or some psychiatric disorder.

What Lewy body dementia is

LBD occurs when protein deposits called Lewy bodies develop in brain cells responsible for thinking, memory and movement. The result is dementia, impaired thinking and impaired motor skills in addition to symptoms like hallucinations, sleep disorders, apathy and depression.

Most LBD patients live between five and eight years following their diagnoses. Death usually comes as a result of some condition underlying LBD, such as pneumonia or an infection. There is no cure.

Reasons for misdiagnoses

LBD is frequently misdiagnosed because of shared symptoms with other forms of dementia. Doctors have not been able to discern a pattern in LBD patients, though it’s clear that men are affected more than women and that those over 60 tend to get it. Even the healthiest, most fit people suffer from it, and the best medical care won’t catch it unless one has a neurologist to identify it.

Seeking compensation with legal help

A misdiagnosis may have caused you or a loved one to undergo unnecessary treatments. In the meantime, the true condition could have worsened to a point of no return. You deserve compensation for this if it’s clear that the doctor’s negligence led to the diagnostic error. You must prove several things, of course — for example, that there was an existing doctor-patient relationship and that you followed the doctor’s directions. To see if you have a strong case, you may want to speak with a lawyer.