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Patients with LBD at risk of misdiagnosis

Oct 2, 2018 | Failure to Diagnose

Lewy body dementia refers to a particular kind of dementia that has three possible initial presentations. New Yorkers who have LBD are sometimes misdiagnosed as having Alzheimer’s because the two conditions have some of the same symptoms. This can be harmful to people with LBD because they may respond positively to some dementia medications that are less likely to be prescribed if they are erroneously diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and because people with LBD may respond negatively to some Alzheimer’s drugs, sometimes with lasting side effects.

The symptoms of LBD that distinguish it from Alzheimer’s disease include changes in movement or walking, visual hallucinations, heightened sensitivity to hallucination medications and unpredictable levels of attention, alertness or cognitive ability. In some cases, people who have LBD develop REM sleep behavior disorder, which causes people to act out dreams physically.

LBD can also be misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s disease because it can begin with changes in movement function. The patient later develops dementia and other LBD symptoms. A small percentage of LBD patients initially develop neuropsychiatric symptoms like hallucinations and behavioral problems.

No matter how it initially presents, people who have LBD eventually develop similar behavioral, sleep, cognitive and physical features. People who suffer harm because of a doctor’s failure to diagnose an illness might be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages or other damages. An attorney with experience practicing medical malpractice law might be able to help in such a case by obtaining the opinions of one or more medical experts stating that the doctor in question failed to exhibit the requisite standard of care.