Dementia with Lewy bodies

Dementia with Lewy bodies is the third most common cause of dementia.

Dementia with Lewy bodies can cause common dementia symptoms, including problems with memory and thinking skills.

There are also some more specific symptoms associated with the disease. Some of these symptoms are also seen in Parkinson’s dementia.

These symptoms include:

  • Changes in alertness and attention, and periods of confusion, that may be unpredictable and change from hour-to-hour or day-to-day.
  • Movement problems – Parkinson’s-type symptoms such as slower movements, stiffness in the arms and legs, and shaking or trembling.
  • Visual hallucinations – Seeing things that are not really there, e.g. people or animals. These often happen repeatedly and are realistic and well-formed.
  • Sleep disturbances – Vivid dreams, shouting out or moving while sleeping which can disrupt sleep, and may cause injury.
  • Fainting, unsteadiness and falls.
  • Sense of smell – Problems with detecting smells.

DLB is a progressive condition which means symptoms get worse over time. As the disease progresses, people will need increasing help with eating, moving, dressing and using the toilet. DLB can progress slowly over several years but the speed of change and type of symptoms can vary from person to person.

This information was updated in January 2018 and is due for review in January 2020. It does not replace any advice that doctors, pharmacists or nurses may give you. Please contact us if you would like a version with references.

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