What is Dementia With Lewy Bodies?

Dementia with Lewy bodies (or ‘Lewy body dementia’) is a common form of dementia in which abnormal proteins develop inside the brain cells. This condition commonly affects older adults. It is the second most common type of progressive dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. People with dementia develop problems with thinking, reasoning, planning and memory. There is no cure for dementia, though many people learn to live with their symptoms.


Lewy body dementia is characterized by the formation of Lewy bodies (proteins) in the nerve cells in the brain. This is similar to the processes which occur in Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease (Alzheimer dementia). Risk factors for this condition include being older than 60, being male, and having a family member who has had this condition, Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease.


The symptoms of dementia are difficulties with thinking, memory, planning and reasoning. Other symptoms of dementia with Lewy bodies include visual hallucinations, movement disorders (such as tremors, stiff limbs and slowed movements), dizziness and falls, bowel issues, sleeping problems (sleep walking, or calling out during sleep), and depression.


The diagnosis is made by a doctor assessing the symptoms and performing a complete neurological examination and assessment of the mental abilities (such as memory testing). Blood tests and a CT (computed tomography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) are often done to exclude any other possible causes for the symptoms.


There is no cure for Lewy body dementia but it is possible to learn to manage symptoms. It is helpful to get the ongoing advice of a doctor, nurse, occupational therapist and physiotherapist, all of whom can help develop strategies to ease some of the everyday difficulties of living with Lewy body dementia, such as difficulties with memory, confusion, eating, dressing, etc. Medications may be prescribed to help to improve the thinking and memory, to help with tremors and stiffness, or to improve sleep.

Other names for dementia with Lewy bodies

  • Cortical Lewy body disease
  • Diffuse Lewy body disease
  • Lewy body dementia
  • Senile dementia of Lewy type

**Question: What is Dementia With Lewy Bodies (DLB)?**


Dementia With Lewy Bodies (DLB) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by‌ cognitive decline, movement problems, and ⁢psychiatric symptoms. ⁣It is the second most common type of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease and primarily affects older adults.

**Symptoms of Dementia With Lewy Bodies**

DLB presents with a combination of symptoms that distinguish it from other types of dementia:


* Memory loss

* Attention and thinking difficulties

*​ Hallucinations (visual, auditory)

* Delusions

* Parkinsonian motor symptoms

* Muscle stiffness (rigidity)

* Tremors

* Slowed movement (bradykinesia)

* Poor balance and coordination

* Sleep disturbances

* Vivid dreams (REM sleep behavior​ disorder)

* Behavioral ‌problems

* Agitation

* Anxiety

* Depression

* Apathy

**Causes of Dementia With Lewy Bodies**

DLB is primarily caused by ⁢the ⁢abnormal accumulation of Lewy bodies, protein aggregates in specific brain regions responsible for cognition and movement. These Lewy bodies interfere with ⁤the functioning of neurotransmitters, such as⁣ dopamine ⁢and‍ acetylcholine, leading to the characteristic symptoms of DLB.

**Diagnosis of Dementia With Lewy Bodies**

Diagnosing DLB‌ can be challenging due to the overlapping symptoms with other neurological disorders. A comprehensive evaluation typically includes:

* Medical history review

* Physical and neurological examination

* Neuroimaging tests (CT or MRI scans)

* Neuropsychological​ testing

* Examination for characteristic​ symptoms, such as hallucinations and Parkinsonian features

**Treatment of Dementia With Lewy Bodies**

Currently,‌ there​ is no ⁢cure for DLB, but treatments aim to manage symptoms and improve quality of life. These include:

* Medications (antipsychotics, cholinesterase inhibitors)

* Physical and occupational therapy

* Behavioral interventions

* Caregiver support and education

**Additional Information**

* DLB is a common⁢ and complex form ​of dementia.

* Accurate diagnosis and timely intervention are crucial for optimal management.

* While DLB can be challenging, there‍ are support systems and resources available to ‍assist patients and their families.

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