Diagnosing dementia, and where possible which type someone has is important. It ensures someone can recieve the right treatments, support and care to help them live well with their condition.

If you are worried about symptoms of dementia, your health, or someone else’s, you should talk to your doctor. There are many causes of memory and thinking problems, including vitamin deficiencies and thyroid disorders. It is important to get the right diagnosis so that the right treatments and help can be given.

When you go to the doctor they will:

  • Ask you about your symptoms and how they are affecting you.
  • Check your medical history and general health,
  • Do some physical tests like blood pressure and a balance or reflexes test.
  • Ask you to do some memory and thinking tests.
  • Run blood and urine tests to rule out other causes of your symptoms.

Together these tests will help to identify the likely cause of your symptoms. If the doctor suspects you have dementia, you may be referred to a memory clinic or another specialist clinic where more in depth tests can be done.

Brain scans like MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or CT (computerised tomography), can help to diagnose dementia or rule out other causes of symptoms.

To help make a specific diagnosis of DLB, a type of scan called a SPECT scan (or ‘DaTscan’) may be used. This type of scan can show changes in the brain that are more common in this type of dementia. However, when symptoms of DLB or PDD are quite clear, someone may not need this test.

Dementia with Lewy bodies

Information in this booklet is for anyone who wants to know more about dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). This includes people living with DLB, their carers, families and friends.

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Order health information

Alzheimer’s Research UK has a wide range of information about dementia. Order booklets or download them from our online form.

This information was updated in December 2021 and is due to be reviewed in December 2023, it was written by Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Information Services team with input from lay and expert reviewers. Please get in touch if you’d like a version with references or in a different format.


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Dementia Research Infoline

Do you have questions about dementia? Want to take part in research projects?

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