Dementia with Lewy bodies can cause both common dementia symptoms like memory loss and confusion, as well as other symptoms, like changes to alertness.

Everyone’s experience of dementia symptoms can be different, but most people have changes to their thinking, memory and behaviour that start to get worse over time.


Symptoms of DLB can include:

• Changes in alertness and attention, and periods of confusion. These periods can be unpredictable and change from hour-to-hour, or day-to-day.

• Movement problems such as slower movements, stiffness in the arms and legs, and shaking or trembling. These symptoms are also common in Parkinson’s disease.

• Stability, people can become unsteady when moving around and be at risk of falling over.

• Visual hallucinations. People with DLB may see things that are not really there, for example people or animals. These hallucinations can happen repeatedly and are realistic.

• Changes to thinking and memory. People often notice difficulty planning activities, and loss of ability to find their way around. Memory can be affected, but this may occur later and is often less affected.

• Mood and emotions. Depression and anxiety are commonly seen in DLB, but can often be alleviated with treatment.

• Sleep problems. Vivid dreams and shouting out or moving while asleep. This can disrupt sleep, and may cause injury.

• Changes to sense of smell or taste.


Dementia with Lewy bodies is a progressive disease. This means that symptoms get worse over time. As the diseases progress, people will need more help with everyday activities like eating, moving, dressing, and using the toilet.

Progression can happen slowly over several years, but the speed of change and type of symptoms can vary from person to person.


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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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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