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

However, there are some more specific symptoms associated with the disease. Some of these symptoms are also seen in PDD.

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.
  • Unsteadiness and falls.
  • 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.
  • Sense of smell – Problems detecting smells.

DLB and PDD are progressive conditions which means symptoms get worse over time. As the disease progresses, people will need more help eating, moving, dressing and using the toilet.

The diseases can progress 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 2019 and is due for review in December 2021. 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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