Vascular Dementia

Table of Contents:

  1. What Is Vascular Dementia?
  2. What Causes Vascular Dementia?
  3. Symptoms of Vascular Dementia 
  4. Who Is at Risk for Vascular Dementia?
  5. Vascular Dementia Treatment
  6. Prognosis for People With Vascular Dementia


What Is Vascular Dementia?


In contrast to Alzheimer’s disease, which occurs as the brain’s nerve cells decline, vascular dementia develops when a portion of the brain does not receive adequate blood to deliver the oxygen and nutrients it requires.


It is possible to develop both vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, however they manifest in separate forms. As devastating as this may sound, there are compelling reasons to manage the risk factors that lead to vascular dementia. Allowing Alzheimer’s disease to progress without intervention may exacerbate the condition.


What Causes Vascular Dementia?


When the vessels supplying blood to the brain become blocked or narrowed, vascular dementia emerges. Strokes happen when the blood supply to the brain that transports oxygen is abruptly interrupted. However, not everybody who has had a stroke develops vascular dementia.


As “silent" strokes accumulate, vascular dementia may evolve over time. Vascular dementia often arises only when a series of strokes has resulted in significant disability. Vascular dementia may be reduced by avoiding and managing risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, and high cholesterol.


The detection of vascular dementia also tends to minimize the impact and severity of the condition. Early recognition necessitates a thorough understanding of risk factors, as well as measures to maintain them under control. Anyone who suspects they might be experiencing  vascular dementia should consult their doctor.


Symptoms of Vascular Dementia


The symptoms of vascular dementia differ depending on which part of the brain is affected and the severity of such damage. Symptoms of vascular dementia, like those of Alzheimer’s disorder, are often mild for a long period of time. They may consist of the following:


  • Short-term memory problems
  • Aimless wandering or getting lost in familiar places
  • Laughing or crying at inappropriate times
  • Difficulty concentrating, planning, or following through on activities
  • Trouble managing money
  • Incapable of obeying instructions
  • Uncontrollable bladder or bowel 
  • Hallucinations or delusions

Symptoms that aggravate abruptly are also signs of a stroke. In order to diagnose vascular dementia, doctors search for signs that develop in prominent stages. Alzheimer’s disease, on the other hand, develops slowly and steadily. Impaired coordination or balance is another warning. Walking and balancing issues may occur early in vascular dementia. These symptoms normally appear late in the course of Alzheimer’s disease.


Who Is at Risk for Vascular Dementia?

Some vascular dementia risk factors can be managed; others, such as age and gender, are inevitable and uncontrollable. Compared to all the factors, the greatest risk factor is high blood pressure; vascular dementia almost never develops without it.


Similarly, a high incidence of stroke is linked to a higher risk of vascular dementia. Strokes are believed to cause some degree of dementia in one-quarter to one-third of people. People who smoke, consume alcohol excessively, have diabetes, or heart problems have a higher rate  of developing the condition. 


People between the ages of 60 and 75 are more common to develop vascular dementia. Men appear to be more susceptible than women, and African-Americans are more affected than other races. People who are at a higher risk of vascular dementia due to their age, sex, or race have a much stronger incentive in managing risk factors within their control.


Vascular Dementia Treatment

There are currently no available treatments that can counteract the effects of vascular dementia after it has occurred. Nonetheless, diagnosis offers crucial information as well as the opportunity to avoid additional damage.


Exercising, eating a healthy diet, and taking medication are also effective strategies to minimize high blood pressure as an attempt of prevention. The same holds true if you have diabetes. Patients should quit smoking and limit their intake of alcohol.


Behavioral interventions such as cues and reminders may increase the quality of life for those concerned, even though medical options are limited. Family members and friends can post reminders with daily plans and instructions of how to use basic items in visible spots around the house. Increased communication, such as reminding the individual with vascular dementia what day it is, where they live, and what is happening with their family, may help them stay connected to the present.


Prognosis for People With Vascular Dementia

The prognosis for vascular dementia is not favorable if the symptoms that cause it are not treated. For a period of time, an individual with vascular dementia may seem to be improving before another stroke confiscates more brain function, memory, and independence. Vascular dementia that goes untreated usually results in death from a stroke, heart disease, or infection.

Although vascular dementia is a serious condition, the best medicine is to detect it early to avoid further destruction. People with vascular dementia can detect and manage the condition in collaboration with their doctors and families.


Referenced on  10.4.2021

  2. World Health Organization. 
  3. Silbergleit, R. Academy of Emergency Medicine, 2005 Apr. 
  4. Braunwld, E. (editor); et al, Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine 16th Edition, McGraw-Hill Professional, July 23, 2004. 
  5. Bendixen, B. and Ocava, L. Current Cardiology Report 2002, Mar. 
  6. Berger C. Stroke. 2005, June. 
  7. Roy, M. Journal of Association of Physicians of India, 2004, Dec.

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