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Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) can be confused with other forms of dementia, but it also has features of a psychiatric nature such as hallucinations and delirium.
The primary sign of DLB is a progressive decline in cognitive functions such as memory, thinking, and problem-solving. The decline in cognitive function is enough to affect your ability to work and perform normal daily activities. Although memory may be affected, it isn't usually as impaired as in someone with Alzheimer's disease (AD).
DLB is generally diagnosed when at least two of the following features are also present with dementia:
Fluctuations in attention and alertness. These fluctuations may last for hours or days. Signs of these fluctuations include staring into space, lethargy, frequent drowsiness, and disorganized speech. These fluctuations have been referred to as "pseudodelirium," because they are similar to delirium.
Visual hallucinations. These hallucinations recur and are very detailed. While the hallucinations may be upsetting to someone observing them, they generally don't bother the person experiencing them. About 80 percent of people with DLB have visual hallucinations.
Movement symptoms consistent with PD. These movement symptoms include: slow movement, rigidity, and falls. Tremors may also be present, but not as pronounced as in a person with PD with dementia.
Additional signs and symptoms seen in DLB include:
Sleep disorder that affects REM sleep, causing vivid dreams with body movement
Dizziness, feeling lightheaded, fainting, or falling
The symptoms of DLB may resemble other conditions. Always see your doctor for a diagnosis.