Lewy body dementia

We approach dementia care as a team. Allowing our patients to have all tests needed for diagnosis and treatment completed in one appointment.

Lewy body dementia, also referred to as dementia with Lewy bodies, is the second most common form of dementia in older adults.

In Lewy body dementia, a protein normally found in the brain, accumulates and forms clusters called Lewy bodies. The Lewy bodies aggregate in areas of the brain important for memory, thinking and movement, causing changes in these behaviors.

Lewy body dementia is a progressive disease meaning symptoms will worsen over time.

Lewy body dementia symptoms

Lewy body dementia symptoms include:

  • Vivid visual hallucinations of shapes, animals or people
  • Changes in thinking like poor attention, memory lapses and difficulty understanding spatial relationships
  • Periodic episodes of disorganized and confused thoughts
  • Movement disorder symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease, like slowed motor movements, shuffling walk, poor balance, tremors and rigid muscles
  • Loss of smell
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Sleep disturbances including acting out dreams
  • Irregularities of autonomic nervous system functioning that may cause dizziness, constipation and fluctuations in blood pressure control
  • Feelings of depression
  • Lack of interest in activities

To make a screening appointment at the Biggs Institute, call 210-450-9960.

Diagnosing Lewy body dementia

Since there currently is not a single test for a Lewy body diagnosis, a careful medical evaluation is needed.

During this evaluation, we will also test for other conditions that may cause dementia like symptoms like depression, thyroid problem or a vitamin B12 deficiency among other conditions.

This evaluation will include:

  • Review of your medical history
  • Physical exam
  • Neurological testing
  • Psychiatric evaluation
  • Cognitive and neuropsychological tests
  • Genetic testing
  • Laboratory testing
  • Brain imaging

Lewy body dementia treatment

Currently there is no cure for Lewy body dementia, but there are medications to help manage symptoms.

Cholinesterase inhibitors such as rivastigmine and donepezil may help slow cognitive decline. Medications to treat Parkinson’s disease such as Levodopa may be prescribed to reduce motor difficulties.

Physical and occupational therapy can be helpful for improving balance, increasing mobility and preventing falls. Speech and cognitive therapy can be useful for addressing changes in thinking and language production.

Causes and risks

The exact causes of Lewy body dementia are unknown.

Risk factors include:

  • Family history: Having a family member with Lewy body dementia or Parkinson’s disease can increase risks of developing Lewy body dementia
  • Age: Risk increases after the age of 60
  • Gender: Men have an increased risk of being diagnosed with Lewy body dementia

Lewy body dementia support groups

Biggs Institute Lewy Body Dementia Support Group

A professionally led group for all persons diagnosed with Lewy body dementia and their caregivers.

When: Every first Thursday 1:00-2:30pm
Where: UT Health San Antonio Medical Arts & Research Center (MARC)

View upcoming dates


Central Texas Lewy Body Dementia Support Group for Caregivers
When: Every first and third Saturdays at 10:00 am

For more information or to register, contact Sarah Hyde-Williams at sarah@slaaustin.com or 832-794-8810.

*This group is not hosted by the Biggs Institute.


Living with Lewy for those Living with Lewy Body Dementia and their Caregivers
When: Every second Monday at 2:00 pm

For more information or to register, contact Sarah Hyde-Williams at sarah@slaaustin.com or 832-794-8810.

*This group is not hosted by the Biggs Institute.

Resources for Lewy body dementia

Biggs Institute
Dedicated to providing comprehensive dementia care for patients and their families, the Biggs Institute offers advanced treatment with clinical trials, genetic testing and supportive, educational and enrichment programs.
Learn more

Lewy Body Dementia Association
Learn more about Lewy body dementia and get connected to support.
Learn more

To make an appointment at our Center of Excellence for dementia care and research,

call 210-450-9960.

Featured videos from the Biggs Institute on Lewy body dementia

Navigating a Dementia Diagnosis

Learn insights from our dementia experts at UT Health San Antonio on how to navigate the many challenges of caring for a person with dementia with a special focus on Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy body dementia.

Dementia with Lewy Bodies and Managing Behavioral Changes

Join Mitzi M. Gonzales, PhD, as she presents dialogue on how to anticipate, recognize and help people with Lewy Body Dementia.