A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of developing a disease or condition. As with many other types of dementia, there are many risk factors for dementia with Lewy bodies that interact together to cause the disease.

Age is the biggest risk factor for the development of DLB, this means that the older we are the more likely it becomes. We know that conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes are risk factors for other types of dementia like Alzheimer’s disease and there is evidence to suggest they are risk factors for the development of DLB too. Men are more likely to get DLB than women, and people with a family history of Parkinson’s disease or DLB have a higher risk too.

While there's no guaranteed way to completely prevent dementia with Lewy bodies, evidence suggests that looking after our brain health may reduce our risk of dementia.

To keep our brains healthy:

  • keep physically and mentally active.
  • don’t smoke.
  • have your blood pressure, cholesterol and hearing checked regularly.
  • maintain a healthy weight.
  • eat a healthy balanced diet.
  • reduce alcohol consumption in line with government recommendations.
  • keep blood glucose in check if you have type 2 diabetes.
  • keep socially active by spending time with people and do hobbies you enjoy.

 

If you have concerns about your dementia risk or any of the risk factors mentioned here you can speak to your doctor about managing them. You can find out more about reducing your risk of dementia here or by clicking the button below.

Some research studies have found several genes linked to a higher risk of DLB, including a known risk gene for Alzheimer’s. While these discoveries help us to understand more about the disease, having one of these risk genes does not mean you will definitely go on to develop it. There is no test available on the NHS for risk genes associated with DLB or Alzheimer’s. This is because carrying a risk gene does not mean you will go on to develop the condition due to other contributing risk factors like age and lifestyle.

For more information on genes and dementia visit our page here or click the button below.

Dementia with Lewy bodies

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 2023 and is due to be reviewed in December 2025. 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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