Dementia with Lewy bodies

Dementia with Lewy bodies is a progressive condition that affects movement and motor control. It may account for 10-15% of all cases of dementia but is often mistaken for Alzheimer’s disease and therefore diagnosed wrongly.

What causes dementia with Lewy bodies?

Dementia with Lewy bodies is caused by abnormal clumps of protein (called Lewy bodies) gathering inside brain cells. These Lewy bodies build up mainly in the parts of the brain responsible for thought, muscle movement and visual perception.

Managing the effects of dementia with Lewy bodies

A person with dementia with Lewy bodies might:

  • be prone to falls
  • have tremors (similar to Parkinson’s disease)
  • have trouble swallowing
  • shuffle when they walk
  • experience disrupted sleep patterns due to intense dreams/nightmares
  • have visual and auditory hallucinations due to the nerve cell damage

Memory is often less affected than with other types of dementia, but a person might experience sudden bouts of confusion which can change on an hourly basis.

The interventions for Dementia with Lewy bodies focus on symptom control and include; physiotherapy, occupational therapy, counselling, groups and activities. Medication can be prescribed to help reduce distressing hallucinations and to help with concentration and memory issues.

What is dementia

Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of progressive neurological disorders, that is, conditions affecting the brain

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Types of dementia

Dementia is the broad term used to describe a number of different conditions affecting the brain. Find out more about the most common types of dementia

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Sue's story

Sue’s mother had Parkinson’s disease and after she sadly passed away her father was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia

Read Sue's story