Lewy body dementia, also known as dementia with Lewy bodies, is the second most common type of progressive dementia after Alzheimer’s disease dementia. Protein deposits, called Lewy bodies, develop in nerve cells in the brain regions involved in thinking, memory and movement (motor control).
Lewy body dementia causes a progressive decline in mental abilities. People with Lewy body dementia may experience visual hallucinations, and changes in alertness and attention. Other effects include Parkinson’s disease-like symptoms such as rigid muscles, slow movement and tremors.
Symptoms of Lewy body dementia include:
- Cognitive problems – confusion, reduced attention span and memory loss
- Fluctuating attention – drowsiness, staring into space, daytime naps and disorganized speech
- Visual hallucinations – seeing animals or people that aren’t there
- Sleep difficulties – physically acting out dreams while asleep and excessive daytime sleepiness
- Movement disorders – slowed movement, rigid muscles, tremors or shuffling walk
- Poor regulations of body function – dizziness, falls and bowel issues
- Depression – persistent sadness and loss of interest