Lewy Body


Lewy body dementia is also known as Lewy body disease. It is characterised by the abnormal accumulation of protein deposits called Lewy bodies in neurons (nervous system cells) in different areas of the brain involved in memory, thinking and motor control.

The following are some of the most characteristic and common symptoms of Lewy body dementia, but each person is different and may manifest the following symptoms in different combinations and to a greater or lesser degree.

Visual hallucinations

This is a perceptual disorder in which people see things (objects, animals, people, etc.) that are not really visible to them. Although visual hallucinations are the most common, auditory, olfactory or tactile hallucinations can also occur.

Movement disorders (Parkinsonian symptoms)

There may be motor problems typical of Parkinson’s disease, such as slowness of movement, muscle stiffness, tremors or gait problems (shuffling gait).

Poor regulation of bodily functions (autonomic nervous system)

Some physiological functions such as sweating, digestion, pulse and blood pressure are regulated by the autonomic nervous system, which is often affected in dementia with Lewy bodies and can lead to intestinal problems (constipation or decomposition), dizziness, falls, among others.

Fluctuation in cognition

Transient episodes of loss of consciousness, in which the person will go from being alert and aware to a state of confusion that can last for hours or even days. Unlike in Alzheimer’s disease, where these episodes of confusion tend to occur more frequently in the evening or at night (“sundowning syndrome”), in Lewy Body dementia these fluctuations in alertness are not associated with any particular time of day.


People with Lewy Body dementia may have a lack of motivation and initiative for activities. They may become disinterested in activities that they previously enjoyed.


Disorder of the sense of smell resulting in a decreased ability to perceive odours.

Sleep disorders

There can be problems in the REM phase of sleep, which begins 90 minutes after falling asleep. It is characterised by rapid eye movements, reduced muscle tone throughout the body and the propensity to dream vividly.

In people with Lewy Body disease, this phase is intensified and may lead to a physical re-enactment of dreams while asleep.

Moreover, there is often increased daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia).


Depressive symptoms such as excessive sadness, lack of enjoyment in previously pleasurable activities, sleep problems, changes in eating, weight loss, among others, are common in Lewy Body dementia.

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