Visual perception, such as judging distances or navigating one’s environment, is also impaired. This can result in regular falls or cause the individual to become lost in familiar settings.
Unlike Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body dementia sufferers are able to make and retain new memories, recall long-term memories and relate to friends and family well into the late stage of their illness.
Their cognition fluctuates, though, leaving them to experience good and bad days. On good days, at least they are able to have insights and are fully capable of making choices available to them.
Lewy body dementia can take two forms. the first is Dementia with Lewy bodies as described above, the second is Parkinson’s disease dementia. The difference between them is dependent on how the disease begins.
In dementia with Lewy bodies, the individual may begin to show signs of memory disorder that are often mistaken as indications for Alzheimer's disease. However, the individual with Lewy body dementia later develops movement and spontaneous Parkinson’s-like motor symptoms.
Some of these symptoms are slowness of movement, hesitation in walking, rigid muscles, tremor, lack of facial expression, and abnormal gait. Recurrent visual hallucinations or delusions, of detailed shapes, colors, people, or animals is also a feature of the condition. Auditory hallucinations such as hearing knocking or footsteps are less common.
In Parkinson’s disease dementia, the person may initially have a movement disorder that looks like Parkinson's disease, but later the individual also develops dementia symptoms such as memory loss, personality changes and impaired intellectual functioning.
Lewy body dementia develops a range of difficulties that include variations in attention and alertness. It causes a progressive decline in mental abilities which causes people to experience recurrent visual hallucinations.
Other effects include symptoms such as a blank expression, rigid muscles, tremors, and slow movement which closely resemble Parkinson's disease.
Sleep disturbances including insomnia, daytime sleepiness are also signs and symptoms of Lewy body dementia.
Dementia with Lewy Bodies Clinical Presentation. Medscape. Accessed August 5, 2016.
What Lewy Body Disease Is. Lewy Body Journal. Accessed August 5, 2016.
Cognitive (Thinking) Changes in Lewy Body Disease. Helpsheet-LewyBodyDisease02-CognitiveChanges_english.pdf Accessed August 5 2016.
Dementia with Lewy Bodies. Alz.Org / Alzheimer’s association. Accessed August 5, 2016.