Two interesting pictures! The picture on the left, represents various parts of the brain that are involved with dementia. In Lewy body dementia (LBD), the lewy bodies are also found deep inside the brain along with being in the outer cortex of the brain. The picture on the right, represents the butterfly rash that is often seen in systemic lupus.
Dementia is far more than memory loss. It is living with a disease that is with you 24/7, every day until death. With most other diseases, including cancer, there are cures or medications that can create a remission. In dementia, there is neither. The brain is dying, and there is no cure. The treatments available today that I am aware of, may improve attention, alertness, focus and overall sense of well-being. That is all.
I feel that dementia and lupus have one thing in common. Since the butterfly rash is not always present and sometimes the disease goes into remission, people often see someone living with lupus and not understand how sick they really are. They look at the person and tell them that they do not look sick. I know, first hand. My wife was diagnosed with lupus in 1980. People would come up to her and tell her, they could not tell that she was sick. Living with her and being her primary care partner, I knew the difficulties that she encountered every day of her life during those early years. Fortunately, her lupus has gone into remission, in the last several years. She now has Rheumatoid arthritis though.
People will approach someone with dementia and tell them, they do not look or act like they have dementia. The immediate questions that I ask are, "What does someone look like that has dementia in the early stages?' and "What does someone act like in the early stages of dementia?" No one has been able so far to give me an answer. They tend to say, "I don't know, I just thought" The perception of many leads people to a false understanding of what dementia really is. From my perspective, the memory loss is minor compared to the emotional toll that occurs in dementia.
THE COMMONALITY OF DEMENTIA AND LUPUS IS THAT OFTEN NEITHER ONE OF THE PERSONS WITH THEIR DISEASES, LOOK OR ACT LIKE ANYTHING IS WRONG. When people make the comments mentioned above, they have no idea of what the person that is living the disease is going through.
For now, we must concentrate on better education and understanding of living with dementia.
©2015 Robert Bowles
Robert Bowles, Jr.