How Is Vascular Dementia Treated
Vascular dementia can’t be cured. The main goal is to treat the underlying conditions that affect the blood flow to the brain. This can help cut the risk of further damage to brain tissue.
Such treatments may include:
- Medicines to manage blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, diabetes, and problems with blood clotting
- Lifestyle changes, such as following a healthy diet, getting physical activity, quitting smoking, and quitting or decreasing alcohol consumption
- Procedures to improve blood flow to the brain, such as carotid endarterectomy, angioplasty, and stenting the carotid arteries are located in the neck and provide blood flow from the heart to the brain
- Medicines, such as cholinesterase inhibitors to treat the symptoms of dementia or antidepressants to help with depression or other symptoms
Social And Economic Impact
Dementia has significant social and economic implications in terms of direct medical and social care costs, and the costs of informal care. In 2015, the total global societal cost of dementia was estimated to be US$ 818 billion, equivalent to 1.1% of global gross domestic product . The total cost as a proportion of GDP varied from 0.2% in low- and middle-income countries to 1.4% in high-income countries.
Early Stages Of Dementia
For those, who are at their early or middle stages of the disease, various types of physical activities are recommended. The list includes: dancing, walking, and even swimming. It is important to know that on average, thirty minutes of physical activity is a must.4
If thepatients are unable to move independently, thus to be physically active, it isstrongly recommended to contact an occupational therapist, which will help bothto perform some beneficial movements and to choose different types of equipmentthat will ease the patients life. 2
Also Check: Senility Vs Dementia Vs Alzheimer’s
Physical Changes To Expect
Which symptoms you have and when they appear are different for everyone.
Some people have physical problems before serious memory loss.
In one study, people who walked slowly and had poor balance were more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in the following 6 years.
Some of the changes you might experience are:
- Loss of balance or coordination
- Stiff muscles
How To Communicate If You Have Dementia
Tell those close to you what you find hard and how they can help you.
For example, you may find it helpful if people calmly remind you:
- what you were talking about
- what someone’s name is
Other things that can help include:
- making eye contact with the person you’re speaking with
- turning off distractions like radio or TV
- asking people to talk more slowly and repeat what they have said if you don’t understand it
- asking people not to remind you that you repeat things
Recommended Reading: Does Bob Knight Have Dementia
How Is Vascular Dementia Diagnosed
In addition to a complete medical history and physical exam, your healthcare provider may order some of the following:
- Computed tomography . This imaging test uses X-rays and a computer to make horizontal, or axial images of the brain. CT scans are more detailed than general X-rays.
- FDG-PET scan. This is a PET scan of the brain that uses a special tracer to light up regions of the brain.
- Electroencephalogram . This test measures electrical activity in the brain
- Magnetic resonance imaging . This test uses large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to make detailed images of the brain.
- Neuropsychological assessments. These tests can help sort out vascular dementia from other types of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- Neuropsychiatric evaluation. This may be done to rule out a psychiatric condition that may resemble dementia.
Outlook For Frontotemporal Dementia
How quickly frontotemporal dementia gets worse varies from person to person and is very difficult to predict.
People with the condition can become socially isolated as the illness progresses. They may not want to spend time in the company of others, or may behave in rude or insulting ways.
The average survival time after symptoms start is around 8 to 10 years. But this is highly variable and some people live much longer than this.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, remember you’re not alone. The NHS and social services, as well as voluntary organisations and specialist support groups, can provide advice and support for you and your family.
Read Also: Does Smelling Farts Help Prevent Dementia
But How Can You Measure Lifestyle And Genetic Risk
The investigators hand-picked a list of common lifestyle factors, including smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, and diet, and created a score. A low score denoted a bad lifestyle. A high score denoted a good lifestyle.
However, taking this approach to measure lifestyle risk has several pitfalls:
- First, a vast number of factors comprise lifestyle and environment beyond smoking and physical activity. So any list may be arbitrary. In fact, our research team has argued that choosing a candidate list doesnt capture our complex lifestyles and may lead to false findings. For example, what exactly constitutes a healthy diet?
- Second, using a score makes the individual roles of the factors unclear.
- Third, if connections between factors influence both the score and dementia, then the score might be a weak proxy for other variables that werent considered. In other words, if weight is associated with diet and dementia, then it is hard to untangle the association of diet.
To create the genetic risk score, the investigators used all genetic variants previously identified by a genome-wide association study of Alzheimers disease. These gene variants are strongly associated with patients who have Alzheimers compared with healthy controls). Using this information, the researchers constructed a polygenic risk score.
What Are The 7 Stages Of Dementia
Dementia does not affect every person in the same way. It presents itself differently in each individual and progresses at different rates. Some people will stay in a state of mild decline for an extended period, while others may develop multiple symptoms quickly. Understanding the seven stages of dementia can make these transitions a little easier for your loved one and you as their caregiver.
Recommended Reading: How Does Alzheimer’s Affect Quality Of Life
Managing Memory Changes In Dementia
- avoiding stressful situations providing emotional support, reducing background noise and distractions, and exercise can all help to reduce stress and improve memory
- maintaining a regular routine keeping to a routine can help with a sense of security and reduce confusion
- trying memory aids using memory aids like lists, diaries and clear written instructions, can help if the person with dementia is happy to use them.
The Brain And Body Connection
Though the cause of Alzheimerâs is not known, doctors think the symptoms of the disease are caused by a buildup of harmful proteins in your brain called amyloid and tau. These proteins form large clumps, called tangles and plaques. They get in the way of normal brain function and kill healthy cells.
The damage usually starts in the area of your brain that forms memories. People with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease often have trouble remembering things. As the disease gets worse, the plaques and clusters also appear in the parts of the brain in charge of bodily behaviors.
Everyday activities like walking, eating, going to the bathroom, and talking become harder.
The effects of the disease will differ for each person as it gets worse. The pace can be slow. Some people live up to 20 years after a diagnosis. The average life expectancy, though, is 4 to 8 years.
Don’t Miss: Senile Dementia Treatments
Managing Changes In Sexual Behaviours And Intimacy
If sexual demands change, the carer may have to keep safely out of the way until there is a mood change. Some partners complain of feeling like an object. Once the person with dementia has had sex or sexual contact, they may immediately forget what has occurred.
On the other hand, carers can feel hurt and bewildered if their partner loses interest in intimacy.
To manage changes in sexual behaviours try to:
- Consider all the possible reasons for the inappropriate behaviour. These could include needing to go to the toilet, discomfort or boredom.
- Gently discourage inappropriate behaviour.
- Remain focused on the person, not the behaviour.
- Distract the person if possible or redirect them to another activity.
- Find ways to include different forms of touch in the everyday routine, so that the person gets some physical contact. Massage, holding hands and embracing are ways of continuing to provide loving touch.
Risk Factors And Prevention
Although age is the strongest known risk factor for dementia, it is not an inevitable consequence of ageing. Further, dementia does not exclusively affect older people young onset dementia accounts for up to 9% of cases. Studies show that people can reduce their risk of dementia by getting regular exercise, not smoking, avoiding harmful use of alcohol, controlling their weight, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Additional risk factors include depression, low educational attainment, social isolation, and cognitive inactivity.
You May Like: How To Get Someone With Dementia To Shower
How Do Plaques Affect Brain Functioning
Plaques choke up the gap between two nerve cells. Through this gap, two neurons communicate with each other by passing electrical signals.
Neurons get isolated and their ability to function as a group and pass information gets affected, hence the brain does not function properly.
As the person showing symptoms get older, more plaques are formed and his/her condition gets worse and worse.
Due to a chemical imbalance in tau protein , they get entangled with other tau protein molecules and form tangles.
These tangles destroy microtubules and prevent necessary nutrients from reaching nerve endings of neurons, thus causing the entire cell to become dysfunctional.
This causes memory loss which can affect the Alzheimers disease patients ability to perform tasks needing intelligence like forming a sentence, reading a newspaper, typing an email on the computer, etc.
Trouble Learning New Things
If your loved one is diagnosed with dementia , one of the effects is trouble/difficulty learning new things and solving problems.
It becomes very evident that even if you repeat them what to do several times, not only do they not show interest in it, they are struggling, too.
Offer a helping hand and together solve the task.
The last thing you would want to do is to start screaming and yelling at them.
Unfortunately, this is part of the progression of dementia. Instead, you should introduce all sorts of different dementia activities which will help keep their brain active.
Said that, keep them engaged in various exercises as often as possible for as long as possible. This will slow down the process of dementia, worsening their well-being.
Read Also: What Color Ribbon Is Alzheimer’s
Living With Vascular Dementia
Vascular dementia is a progressive disease that has no cure, but the rate at which the disease progresses can vary. Some people with vascular dementia may eventually need a high level of care due to the loss of mental and physical abilities. Family members may be able to care for a person with vascular dementia early on. But if the disease progresses, the person may need more specialized care.
Respite programs, adult daycare programs, and other resources can help the caregiver get some time away from the demands of caring for a loved one with vascular dementia.
Long-term care facilities that specialize in the care of people with dementias, Alzheimer’s, and other related conditions are often available if a person affected by vascular dementia can no longer be cared for at home. Your healthcare provider can recommend caregiver resources.
Assessment Scales For Primary Care
Many types of assessment scales have been developed for dementia in the domains of cognition, function, behaviour, quality of life, depression, caregiver burden and severity of illness. Examples of cognitive tests and the types of symptoms they could be used to assess are presented in . These scales can use reports from patients, their caregivers or observers. In primary care, brief cognitive screening instruments are commonly used to detect cognitive impairment, as such impairment is the core factor in dementia diagnosis. In Canada, the Mini-Mental State Exam , Montreal Cognitive Assessment , Clock Drawing Test and delayed word recall are the most frequently used tools by family physicians and psychogeriatric clinicians., These instruments, which can be administered quickly by trained personnel, are used consecutively, because dementia is multidimensional and use of a single scale is insufficient to make a diagnosis. A detailed comparison of tools for use in primary care is presented in .
Stage : Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline
Stage 5 is when your loved one is likely to need help with routine tasks, like dressing or bathing. They may require a home caregiver or to move to a memory care community. Other symptoms include:
- Memory loss of personal details and current events
- Reduced mental acuity and problem-solving ability
Diagnosis And Precautions Of Dementia
If you suspect that you, or a relative, has dementia, you should consult a doctor. The doctor will perform a test, usually MMSE . This is a test where the person’s mental abilities are tested, and you get a very accurate indication of whether there is something wrong. In addition, a scan of the brain is often made, where the typical changes can be seen. Usually a wide range of blood tests are performed to exclude other conditions that may produce symptoms of dementia . Persons affected by dementia should not drive.
Read Also: Alzheimer’s And Dementia Ribbon
Failure To Do Day To Day Tasks
The first thing a normal person does after waking up in the morning is head to the washroom and wash his/her face or perform other routine activities.
But an AD patient feels directionless and purposeless in the morning and has a torrid time getting through the day.
An Alzheimers patient in later stages doesnt even remember what a toothbrush is used for, let alone other things like taking a shower, do your hair, etc.
It can be really frustrating for a family member to watch their loved one being physically fit and strong, but not being able to apply their minds.
Where To Get Help
- Your local community health centre
- National Dementia Helpline Alzheimers Australia Tel. 1800 100 500
- Aged Care Assessment Services Tel. 1300 135 090
- My aged care 1800 200 422Cognitive Dementia and Memory Service clinics Tel. 1300 135 090
- Carers Victoria Tel. 1800 242 636
- Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres Tel 1800 052 222
- Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service Tel. 1800 699 799 for 24-hour telephone advice for carers and care workers
Recommended Reading: Is Dementia Related To Alzheimer’s
Catastrophic Reactions In Dementia
Some people with dementia overreact to a trivial setback or a minor criticism. This might involve them screaming, shouting, making unreasonable accusations, becoming very agitated or stubborn, or crying or laughing uncontrollably or inappropriately. This tendency to overreact is part of the illness and is called a catastrophic reaction.
Sometimes a catastrophic reaction is the first behaviour change that makes relatives aware of the dementia. It may be a passing phase, disappearing as the condition progresses, or it may go on for some time.
Some causes of catastrophic behaviour include:
- stress caused by the excessive demands of a situation
- frustration caused by misinterpreted messages
- another underlying illness.
The Emotional Impact Of Dementia
Dementia is unique in its ability to affect us emotionally, but by understanding our emotional responses and finding ways to alleviate them, we can prevent this emotional impact becoming unmanageable.
*Beth Britton is a leading campaigner, consultant, writer and blogger on ageing, health, social care and dementia.*
Everyone who has been diagnosed with dementia, or who has a family member who has been diagnosed, has a story to tell of the moment they heard that news.
Ive listened to people describe relief , uncontrollable tearfulness , a matter-of-fact approach , anger , complete denial and just about every other emotion you can imagine.
Peoples emotional responses are often linked to other elements in their life. For example, a younger person diagnosed with dementia may be fearful of rapidly progressing symptoms, giving up work and leaving a young family behind.
An older person may be worried about not accomplishing the things that they have always wanted to do, or losing their home to pay for dementia care. And just about everyone will, at some point, fast forward in their mind to a worst case scenario when they might be immobile, incontinent and nearing the end of their life, even if at the time they are having those thoughts they are relatively well, active and able.
Don’t Miss: How Fast Does Dementia Progress
How Should You Deal With Physical Changes
The positive impact of physical activity among thosediagnosed with dementia has been scientifically proven. It has multipleadvantages for those diagnosed with dementia. Being physically active will helpto prevent disease progression and decrease the severity of present symptoms. First,cognitive abilities will improve. Second, patients will need less help while doing everyday activities. They will become moreindependent. Moreover, it is a great chance to gain new friends in case ofpracticing a physically active lifestyle in specific groups. The latter willhelp to overcome emotional and behavioral problems as well. Overall, it isclear that the quality of a patients quality of life will be improved.3
More Serious Health Problems
In the later stages of dementia, other health problems may arise. This is often due to a compromised immune system, which may lead to the development of an infection or an acute condition like pneumonia. In addition, falls and injuries are more likely to occur. Intensive, around-the-clock care is usually required at this late stage.
If you know someone who suffers from dementia, its important that both of you understand how dementia affects physical health. When possible, we highly recommend that you discuss these issues with your loved one early on in the progression of their dementia. We know its hard to discuss these weighty topics, but its extremely worthwhile, as it allows you both to explore the options available and gives your loved one a chance to decide how they would prefer to be cared for.
If you are looking for a memory care facility in Riverview, Florida, we invite you to tour our community, meet our friendly staff, and see our amenities firsthand. Overlooking the Alafia River on twelve beautiful acres, the Crossings at Riverview offers a relaxing atmosphere, and our talented team is committed to cultivating a welcoming and vibrant community. Our goal is to make our community feel like home for all of our residents. To schedule a tour, call 813-671-0222 or contact us online. We look forward to meeting you!
Also Check: Alzheimer’s Lack Of Neurotransmitter