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Is Alzheimer’s Vascular Dementia

What Causes Vascular Dementia

What is vascular dementia?

Vascular dementia is caused by conditions that damage blood vessels in the brain and interrupt the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. In the research community, these conditions are known as vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia . The brains of people with vascular dementia often show evidence of prior strokes, thickening blood vessel walls, and thinning white matter the brains connecting wires that relay messages between regions.

Not everyone who has had a stroke will develop vascular dementia. A persons risk for dementia after stroke depends on the size and number of strokes and the brain regions affected. Vascular dementia can also result from other conditions that impede blood flow and delivery of oxygen to the brain, such as narrowing of the arteries.

High blood pressure, problems with the heartbeats rhythm, diabetes, and high cholesterol can increase a persons risk of vascular dementia. By controlling or managing risk factors, you may lower your chance of developing cognitive impairment and dementia.

Is There Treatment Available

While no treatment can reverse damage that has already been done, treatment to prevent additional strokes is very important. To prevent strokes, medicines to control high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and diabetes can be prescribed. A healthy diet, exercise and avoidance of smoking and excessive alcohol also lessen the risk of further strokes. Sometimes aspirin or other drugs are prescribed to prevent clots from forming in the small blood vessels.

Drugs can also be prescribed to relieve restlessness or depression or to help the person with dementia to sleep better. In some cases surgery known as carotid endarterectomy may be recommended to remove blockage in the carotid artery, the main blood vessel to the brain. Recent research suggests that cholinesterase inhibitor medications such as Donepezil and Galantamine , which are helpful for some people with Alzheimer’s disease, may also be of some benefit to some people with Vascular dementia. However, the evidence is not yet as clear or compelling as that for the use of these medications with Alzheimer’s disease.

Support is available for the person with Vascular dementia, their families and carers. This support can make a positive difference to managing the condition. Dementia Australia provides support, information, education and counselling for people affected by dementia. Up-to-date information about drug treatments is also available from Dementia Australia.

Vascular Dementia: What Is It And What Causes It

Vascular dementia is the second most common type of;dementia;, affecting around 150,000 people in the UK. Find out more about vascular dementia and what causes it.

  • You are here: Vascular dementia: what is it, and what causes it?
  • Along with all our usual information on dementia, we have more advice to support you during coronavirus.

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    What Happens In Vascular Dementia

    Vascular dementia can cause different symptoms depending on where the blood vessels are damaged in the brain. For example, a person who had a stroke may have sudden problems with memory, balance, or speech. However, a person can have several strokes that may be unnoticeably small, but the damage can add up over time.

    Many people with vascular dementia have trouble with memory. Others may have difficulty with organization and solving complex problems, slowed thinking, or being easily distracted. People with vascular dementia may also have changes in mood or behavior, such as irritability, loss of interest, or depression.

    Sometimes, people with vascular dementia have trouble with balance and movement. This might include weakness on one side of the body, and the symptoms may get worse over time.

    What Can You Do


    A healthy lifestyle is important to help reduce risk factors of vascular dementia.

    This includes eating well, limiting alcohol, not smoking, exercising, and managing stress.

    If you are concerned about vascular dementia symptoms, talk with your doctor.

    If you or someone you know has recently been diagnosed, explore the resources on this website and the website to find out more about the disease, care, support and research, as well as the links below.

    To find out more about vascular dementia, .

    For information on how to volunteer for research, .

    For a resource list on vascular dementia and vascular cognitive impairment, .

    Read Also: How Are Other Body Systems Affected By Alzheimer’s

    Stage 4: Mild Dementia

    At this stage, individuals may start to become socially withdrawn and show changes in personality and mood. Denial of symptoms as a defense mechanism is commonly seen in stage 4. Behaviors to look for include:

    • Difficulty remembering things about one’s personal history
    • Disorientation
    • Difficulty recognizing faces and people

    In stage 4 dementia, individuals have no trouble recognizing familiar faces or traveling to familiar locations. However, patients in this stage will often avoid challenging situations in order to hide symptoms or prevent stress or anxiety.

    The Moral Of The Story Never Be Afraid To Ask For Help

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    How Hospice Can Help With End

    In addition to helping you in recognizing the signs of dying in the elderly with dementia, bringing in hospice care will help with the physical and emotional demands of caregiving. Nurses will be able to adjust medication and care plans as the individuals needs change. Aides can help with bathing, grooming, and other personal care. Social workers can help organize resources for the patient and family. Chaplains and bereavement specials can help the family with any emotional or spiritual needs. Additionally, family members can contact hospice at any time, and do not need to wait until it is recommended by the patient’s physician.

    To learn more about the criteria for hospice eligibility or to schedule a consultation, please contact Crossroads using the blue Help Center bar on this page for more information on how we can help provide support to individuals with dementia and their families.

    One Of The First Things I Noticed Apart From Her Memory Was Her Ability To Coordinate Daily Tasks Was Deteriorating When She Cooked A Meal She Might Cook The Vegetables First And It Could Be Hours Afterwards That She Would Put The Meat On

    Audrey and Alan’s story of living with vascular dementia – Alzheimer’s Society

    Anonymous, Galway

    Vascular dementia

    Vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia and it occurs when the blood supply to the brain is damaged. There are two main types of vascular dementia; one caused by stroke and the other by small vessel disease .

    Multi-infarct dementia is a type of vascular dementia that is caused by small strokes. The strokes can be so tiny that no-one notices them happening, but the person may get worse quite suddenly and then not change again until the next stroke happens. As a result, the progression of this dementia is often described as happening in steps rather than steady gradual changes, such as in Alzheimers disease.

    Subcortical dementia is another type of vascular dementia and is caused by very small blood vessels that are in the inner parts of the brain.

    People with vascular dementia can often experience the following symptoms:

    • Difficulty concentrating and communicating
    • Depression

    Dementia with Lewy bodies

    Dementia with Lewy bodies is a type of dementia that shares characteristics with both Alzheimers disease and Parkinsons disease. Like Alzheimers disease symptoms progress gradually over several years. The person will experience many of the signs and symptoms of Alzheimers disease and may also experience:

    • Muscle stiffness
    • A tendency to shuffle when walking
    • hallucinations
    • fall asleep during the day and then not sleep at night

    Frontotemporal dementia

    This dementia often may cause a person to:

    Other forms of dementia

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    Types Of Vascular Dementia

    Vascular dementia can be divided into two types: post-stroke dementia and multi-infarct dementia .

    POST-STROKE DEMENTIASymptoms are most obvious when they arise suddenly following a stroke, resulting in the blood supply to the brain being suddenly interrupted due to a blocked artery. This disruption can lead to damage or death of brain tissue. Not all stroke victims develop dementia; it is estimated that approximately 20% of stroke patients develop post-stroke dementia within six months. Post-stroke dementia can result in physical symptoms and/or problems with vision or speech. Symptoms depend on what area and how much of the brain is affected.

    MULTI-INFARCT DEMENTIAThis type of dementia results from a series of mini-strokes in vessels located deep within the brain . These mini-strokes may not lead to any sudden obvious onset of symptoms; however, even these âsilent brain infarctionsâ still increase the risk of dementia, a result of disease of the brainâs blood vessels. Over time, the effects of this damage can result in dementia. Progression is referred to as âstep-wiseâ because symptoms worsen after any additional mini-strokes and then remain the same for a time. Symptoms that may develop include changes in reasoning and other thinking skills such as memory, as well as mood and behavior problems, including depression and apathy.

    Stage 6: Moderately Severe Dementia

    When the patient begins to forget the names of their children, spouse, or primary caregivers, they are most likely entering stage 6 of dementia and will need full time care. In the sixth stage, patients are generally unaware of their surroundings, cannot recall recent events, and have skewed memories of their personal past. Caregivers and loved ones should watch for:

    • Delusional behavior

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    What Are The Signs And Symptoms

    Symptoms of vascular dementia can appear suddenly and may progress slowly over time. Symptoms often look similar to those of Alzheimers disease, but memory loss is more prominent in Alzheimers, whereas problems with organization, attention, and problem-solving may be more obvious in vascular dementia.

    People with vascular dementia may experience:

  • Difficulty performing tasks that used to be easy, such as paying bills
  • Trouble following instructions or learning new information and routines
  • Forgetting current or past events
  • Misplacing items
  • Getting lost on familiar routes
  • Problems with language, such as finding the right word or using the wrong word
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Loss of interest in things or people
  • Changes in personality, behavior, and mood, such as depression, agitation, and anger
  • Hallucinations or delusions
  • Poor judgment and loss of ability to perceive danger
  • Symptoms may depend on the size, location, and number of damaged areas of the brain.

    Outlook For Vascular Dementia

    Conceptual clinical courses leading to vascular dementia ...

    Vascular dementia will usually get worse over time. This can happen in sudden steps, with periods in between where the symptoms do not change much, but it’s difficult to predict when this will happen.

    Home-based help;will usually be needed, and some people will eventually need care in a nursing home.

    Although treatment can help, vascular dementia can significantly shorten life expectancy.

    But this is highly variable, and many people live for several years with the condition, or die from some other cause.

    If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, remember that you’re not alone. The NHS and social services,;as well as voluntary organisations, can provide advice and support for you and your family.

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    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.

    Are There Medicines To Treat Vascular Dementia

    Though there is no cure for vascular dementia yet, there are medications that can help manage the symptoms. Sometimes medications used to treat memory problems in Alzheimers disease may be helpful for vascular dementia. Sometimes, people with vascular dementia can have mood changes, such as depression or irritability. These can be managed by medications like the ones used for depression or anxiety.

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    How Does Vascular Dementia Progress

    Vascular dementia usually progresses gradually in a step-wise fashion in which a person’s abilities deteriorate after a stroke, and then stabilise until the next stroke. If further strokes do not occur, the abilities of people with Vascular dementia may not continue to decline, or in some cases, may improve. However, these improvements may not last. Sometimes the steps are so small that the decline appears gradual. On average though, people with Vascular dementia decline more rapidly than people with Alzheimer’s disease. Often they die from a heart attack or major stroke.

    What Is Vascular Dementia

    What is Vascular Dementia?

    Vascular dementia is caused by conditions such as stroke that disrupt blood flow to the brain and lead to problems with memory, thinking, and behavior. Vascular dementia is the second most common dementia diagnosis, after Alzheimers disease, and can occur alone or alongside another form of dementia.

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    The Cause Of Vascular Dementia

    Vascular dementia is normally caused by blood flow being restricted from the brain. Were talking about things like strokes, transient ischemic attack , or heart attacks. They can cause massive disruptions in the normal functions of the human body.

    It is estimated that 10-20% of all Dementia cases are diagnosed as vascular dementia, making it the second most common form of dementia. About 1%-4% of these cases layover into Alzheimers too.

    Though vascular dementia is a common type of Dementia, it cant always be classified into the general early stages, middle stages, or late stages. It really comes down to the person and the severity of the event that triggered it in the first place. Some cases result in people closer to early signs of Alzheimers. Others find themselves thrust towards the middle or late stages.

    The common risk factors associated with vascular dementia are diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, or peripheral artery disease. Vascular dementia can also come in a variety of forms like mixed dementia. Sometimes patients show signs of both vascular dementia and Alzheimers.

    Women are also more susceptible to getting Alzheimers. The fact that women live longer means they are more likely to suffer from dementia.

    Vascular Dementia Life Expectancy

    All forms of dementia shorten life expectancy. However, it is difficult to predict how quickly a person with vascular dementia will decline. In general, the vascular dementia survival rate is lower than the survival rate and life expectancy with Alzheimers disease. This is primarily due to the underlying causes of vascular dementia.

    The average vascular dementia life expectancy after diagnosis is about five years. Some research suggests it may be shorter, at three years, in people who have the disease due to stroke. Its common for people with vascular dementia to die from a stroke or another event related to the underlying causes, such as a .

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    The Effects Of Alzheimers On The Brain

    Damage to the brain begins years before symptoms appear. Abnormal protein deposits form plaques and tangles in the brain of someone with Alzheimers disease. Connections between cells are lost, and they begin to die. In advanced cases, the brain shows significant shrinkage.

    Its impossible to diagnose Alzheimers with complete accuracy while a person is alive. The diagnosis can only be confirmed when the brain is examined under a microscope during an autopsy. However, specialists are able to make the correct diagnosis up to 90 percent of the time.

    The symptoms of Alzheimers and dementia can overlap, but there can be some differences.

    Both conditions can cause:

    • behavioral changes
    • difficulty speaking, swallowing, or walking in advanced stages of the disease

    Some types of dementia will share some of these symptoms, but they include or exclude other symptoms that can help make a differential diagnosis. Lewy body dementia , for example, has many of the same later symptoms as Alzheimers. However, people with LBD but are more likely to experience initial symptoms such as visual hallucinations, difficulties with balance, and sleep disturbances.

    People with dementia due to Parkinsons or Huntingtons disease are more likely to experience involuntary movement in the early stages of the disease.

    Treatment for dementia will depend on the exact cause and type of dementia, but many treatments for dementia and Alzheimers will overlap.

    Fca Fact And Tip Sheets

    What is Vascular Dementia??

    A listing of all FCA fact;and tip sheets;is available online at;

    The National Stroke Association provides education, information and referral, and research on stroke for families, health care professionals, and others interested in or affected by stroke.

    American Stroke AssociationThe American Stroke Association offers information and sponsors programs and support groups throughout the nation for stroke survivors and family members.

    American Heart AssociationThe American Heart Association provides public health education to community members, healthcare professionals, and to lawmakers and policymakers.

    National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokewww.ninds.nih.govThe National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke supports and performs basic, translational, and clinical neuroscience research through grants-in-aid, contracts, scientific meetings, and through research in its own laboratories, and clinics.

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