Diagnosis and Prognosis

How is LBD diagnosed?

Doctors diagnose LBD based on the patient’s history, examination, and possibly other blood tests or brain scans to exclude other causes of dementia, movement disorders, or behavioral problems. There are no medical tests that can diagnose LBD with absolute certainty during life, so when a doctor suspects a patient has LBD based on clinical features, they are diagnosed with “probable LBD.” A diagnosis by specialists very familiar with LBD may be accurate up to 90% of the time.

What kind of healthcare professional diagnoses LBD?

Primary care providers are an appropriate, first-step resource if you are experiencing any cognitive, emotional, or physical changes. However, neurologists generally possess the specialized knowledge necessary to diagnose specific types of dementia or movement disorders, as do geriatric psychiatrists and neuropsychologists. These specialists may require a referral from your primary care provider. Geriatricians, who specialize in treating older adults, are also usually familiar with the different forms of dementia.

What is the long-term prognosis for someone with LBD?

The prognosis is different for each person and may be affected by their general health or the existence of unrelated illnesses. Because LBD progresses at varying rates for each individual, it is not possible to determine how long someone may live with the disease. Research suggests most people live five to eight years with LBD.