Dementia With Lewy Bodies vs. Lewy Body Dementia

What's the difference?

Lewy bodies/ Cultura RM/UCSF Collection: Collection Mix: Subjects /Getty Images.

Dementia with Lewy bodies and Lewy body dementia- sounds like the same thing, right? Well, it depends on whom you ask, but despite the similarity in name, they're different from each other according to diagnostic guidelines.

Technically, Lewy body dementia is a broader term for a kind of dementia that has two different sub-types:

  • Dementia with Lewy bodies
  • Parkinson's disease dementia

Thus, dementia with Lewy bodies is a type of Lewy body dementia.

All dementia with Lewy bodies cases are classified as Lewy body dementia, but not all Lewy body dementia cases are classified as dementia with Lewy bodies.

Lewy body dementia is already the most misdiganosed type of dementia, according to the Lewy Body Dementia Association. Adding to the confusion over these terms is the fact that many professionals use both the broad term- Lewy body dementia - and its subtypes - Dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson's disease dementia- all interchangeably.

Does It Matter?

If you or a loved one is diagnosed with Lewy body dementia, it may be helpful to clarify whether you have Parkinson's disease dementia or dementia with Lewy bodies, or if the medical staff haven't distinguished between the two and are simply classifying it as Lewy body dementia.

Although the types of dementia share many of the same symptoms, there are some differences between them that could be helpful to clarify for treatment and prognosis reasons.

National Institute on Aging. Lewy Body Dementia: Information for Patients, Families, and Professionals. January 22, 2015.

Lewy Body Dementia Association. What Is Lewy Body Dementia? Accessed February 28, 2015.

Lewy Body Dementia Association. Lewy Who? Get the Facts about Lewy. Accessed February 28, 2015.

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