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Dementia With Lewy Bodies (cont.)

Outlook

Like other types of degenerative dementia such as Alzheimer's disease, DLB is gradually progressive.

  • DLB eventually affects a person's job performance. Many people with DLB take early retirement from their jobs.
  • The person with DLB will eventuallylose his or her ability to drive safely. Driving privileges should be addressed by the caregivers and care team.
  • Eventually the person will lose the ability to care for himself or herself.
  • DLB shortens life expectancy.

The rate of progression varies considerably, but most people die within 5-7 years after their disease is diagnosed. The cause of death is usually a complication of the disease.

  • People with the disease develop severe dementia and eventually may have only limited ability to move.
  • They are at risk of falls because of poor balance and walking difficulties.
  • Many have difficulties swallowing, which leads to poor nutrition and sometimes pneumonia (because food goes into the lungs instead of the stomach).
  • They eventually become immobile, which can lead to skin problems, pneumonia, and other complications.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/6/2014
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Frederick Lewy first described Lewy bodies (LBs), cytoplasmic inclusions found in cells of the substantia nigra in patients with idiopathic Parkinson's disease, in 1914.

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