Health Library


Return to Index
by McCoy K

Lewy Body Disease

(Lewy Body Dementia; Dementia with Lewy Bodies)

Definition

Lewy body disease is a type of dementia. It causes a loss in mental abilities, such as thinking, learning, and judging.
Brain Cells
Neurons
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

The disease is linked to a buildup of abnormal protein deposits called Lewy bodies that build up in the brain. These deposits play a role in memory, visual processing, and motor control. It is not known why they build up.

Risk Factors

Lewy body disease is more common in people over 65 years of age. .
Things that may raise the risk are:
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Having certain genetic mutations

Symptoms

Symptoms may be:
  • Forgetfulness
  • Changes in thinking
  • Lack of focus
  • Confusion
  • Slowness when moving
  • Tremors
  • Problems sleeping
  • Problems naming things
  • Seeing things that are not there
  • Having beliefs that are not based in reality

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. Cognitive tests will also be done.
Images may be taken to help support the diagnosis. This can be done with:
The only way to confirm the disease is through an autopsy after death.

Treatment

There is no cure. The goal is to manage symptoms. This can be done with medicines, such as:
  • Cholinesterase inhibitors to treat changes in thinking
  • Memantine to decrease abnormal activity in the brain
  • Levodopa to treat physical symptoms
  • Antipsychotic medicine
Counseling and support groups can also provide support and guidance.

Prevention

There are no current guidelines to prevent this disease.

RESOURCES

Lewy Body Dementia Association
http://www.lewybodydementia.org
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
http://www.ninds.nih.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Alzheimer Society
http://www.alzheimer.ca
Canadian Stroke Network
http://www.canadianstrokenetwork.ca

References

An introduction to Lewy body dementia. Lewy Body Disease Association website. Available at: http://lbda.org/content/intro-to-lbd. Accessed October 11, 2019.
Dementia with Lewy bodies. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/dementia-with-lewy-bodies . Updated February 22, 2019. Accessed October 11, 2019.
Dementia with Lewy bodies information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Dementia-Lewy-Bodies-Information-Page. Updated March 27, 2019. Accessed October 11, 2019.
McKeith IG, Boeve BF, et al. Diagnosis and management of dementia with Lewy bodies: Fourth consensus report of the DLB Consortium. Neurology. 2017 Jul 4;89(1):88-100.
9/3/2014 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/evaluation/dementia-evaluation : Wippold FJ, Brown DC, Broderick DF, et al. American College of Radiology (ACR) Appropriateness Criteria for dementia and movement disorders. Available at: http://www.acr.org/~/media/ACR/Documents/AppCriteria/Diagnostic/DementiaAndMovementDisorders.pdf. Updated 2014. Accessed September 3, 2014.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD
  • Review Date: 09/2019
  • Update Date: 10/10/2019
Mercyhealth MyChart Sign In