What Is Lewy Body Dementia? Types, Symptoms & Causes

Lewy Body Dementia Explained

Caretakers and the adult children of senior citizens alike should know that Lewy bodies are usually a helpful alpha-synuclein protein located in the brain’s neurons. So, what is Lewy Body Dementia and why is it bad for your mental and physical health? This type of dementia can develop when the proteins start to clump together in the brain. These clumps gradually affect the neurons’ productivity levels until the neurons die off. Lewy Body Dementia also impacts brain chemicals that can widely damage certain brain regions such as the cerebral cortex, limbic cortex, hippocampus, basal ganglia, brain stem, and olfactory pathways.

If your family member has Lewy Body Dementia, you will begin to notice problems with thinking, movement, personality, stress, and mood. Because of these considerable cognitive and physical issues, symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia can be misdiagnosed as similar diseases or disorders such as Alzheimer’s or Schizophrenia respectively.

The two forms of Lewy Body Dementia are Dementia With Lewy Bodies (DLB) and Parkinson’s Disease. The symptoms of these two types of dementia can overlap. Although the symptoms cannot be outright cured, there are some treatment options available for Lewy Body Dementia to help your afflicted loved one get through this difficult period so they can spend as much time as possible with you and other friends.

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What Is Lewy Body Dementia? An Explanation of Symptoms & Causes5 Most Common Symptoms of Dementia With Lewy Bodies

Is your senior loved one acting differently? Cognitive decline notably impacting everyday activities is often associated with Dementia with Lewy Bodies. The initial symptoms of this progressive disease differ from Parkinson’s disease but worsen over time and eventually cause severe motor-related problems.

Impaired Thinking

Dementia with Lewy Bodies makes it difficult for an affected person to focus, problem-solve, and perceive things correctly. They will tend to lose their sense of direction, insight, and organizational skills as well.

Fluctuating Cognitive State

Your patient, mom, or dad affected by Dementia with Lewy Bodies might seem fine one moment, and then appear out of sorts the next hour, day, or even week. Their level of cognition can vary drastically.

What Is Lewy Body Dementia? An Explanation of Symptoms & CausesHallucinations

Lewy Body Dementia can cause vivid hallucinations related to any of the five senses. The symptoms of hallucinations may sometimes manifest a fear-inducing experience.

Motor Skill Problems

Once a family member reaches the late stages of Lewy Body Dementia, they can be exposed to physical symptoms such as body tremors, dexterity loss, slow movement, stiffness, reduced joint flexibility, muscle twitches, loss of balance, and limited facial expressiveness.

Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD)

Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Behavior Disorder brought on by Lewy Body Dementia causes extreme drowsiness because of vivid dreaming, sleep talking, and constant tossing. This symptom can begin years before your mother or father is even diagnosed.

The Difference Between Lewy Body Dementia & Parkinson’s Disease

While Dementia with Lewy Bodies initially impairs someone’s cognition and later their movement, a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease is given when the opposite occurs: their physical motor skills are more prominently impacted than their mental or psychological abilities. Restricted or uncontrollable muscle movement is typically witnessed as an ordinary symptom of this disease. To help you become familiar with this type of dementia, we have compiled a list of symptoms.

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4 Most Common Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

To help you become familiar with this type of Lewy Body dementia, we have compiled a list of the most common symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease.

Stiff Muscles

Those with Parkinson’s Disease characteristically deal with muscle rigidity limiting their full range of motion. This can occur to any muscle in the body and may sometimes be painful for any senior you know dealing with this disease.

What Is Lewy Body Dementia? An Explanation of Symptoms & CausesInefficient Movement

Parkinson’s Disease can reduce walking to shuffling and lifting to dragging in your patient, mom, or dad. It forces affected people to complete their physical activity more slowly or inefficiently.

Loss in Automatic Movement

If your loved one has Parkinson’s Disease, they may notice that they have to think about performing unconscious actions like breathing or blinking. The inability to effortlessly move from location to location is a symptom of this type of Lewy Body Dementia. As the severity of the disease increases, an individual loses the ability to subconsciously carry out these acts.

Body Tremors

Seen most at the limbs—a person afflicted with Parkinson’s will experience uncontrollable tremors or the shaking of body parts.

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Alzheimer’s-Dementia Care Programs and Services Offered By Terra Vista

Terra Vista Memory Care Assisted Living is prepared to help your loved one with their Lewy Body Dementia symptoms, Alzheimer’s Disease, or other forms of dementia. Our friendly, certified staff can attend to their needs and continue to help create moments of joy each day. Give our team of nurses and staff a call by phone at (630) 534-0886 to discuss care options for your family member with Parkinson’s Disease or Dementia With Lewy Bodies. Speak to your loved one about making a home at Terra Vista so they join a community of people dealing with similar experiences and benefit from our quality wellness programs.


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Meet the Author


Natalie has compiled over eighteen years experience providing outstanding care to people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. In addition to being a certified Alzheimer’s and dementia care trainer, McFarland is a licensed continued education instructor for nurses and social workers through the Illinois Department of Professional Regulations. She has also developed several Alzheimer’s research partnerships. Included in those projects were Dr. Virginia Cruz, Ph.D., RN, Associate Professor of SIUE and Dr. George Grossberg, M.D., Medical Director of the Department of Psychiatry and Neurology at Saint Louis University. Natalie is a graduate of Southern Illinois University.