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What Are The Stages Of Vascular Dementia

Avoid Day And Nighttime Confusion

What is vascular dementia?

Another thing that adds to confusion and disorientation is taking too many naps. While napping may feel good or even needed, when the person wakes up there is an increased chance for confusion as to time of day. Instead of napping, go for a short walk together. Not only does this help keep the person grounded as to the correct time of day, but it will also help them sleep better at night. To help avoid times of confusion at night, adding a nightlight can help. This way, if the person does wake up, they won’t be in total darkness, which can add to their confusion.

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 .

What Is Vascular Dementia And What Causes It

Vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia in the UK after Alzheimer’s disease, where the brain is damaged due to a lack of blood flow.

Sometimes people have both vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s, giving them a diagnosis of “mixed dementia”.

If the vascular system within the brain becomes damaged – so that the blood vessels leak or become blocked – then blood cannot reach the brain cells and they will eventually die.

This death of brain cells can cause problems with memory, thinking or reasoning, and when these cognitive problems are bad enough to impact on daily life, it is known as vascular dementia.

Dementia symptoms specific to vascular dementia include stroke-like symptoms, suchas as muscle weakness, movement and thinking problems and mood changes, such as depression.

There are several different types of vascular dementia, due to the varying levels of damage on the affected part of the brain.

They include stroke-related dementia, single-infarct and multi-infarct dementia and subcortical vascular dementia.

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Prognosis & Life Expectancy

As with all other types of dementia, there unfortunately is no cure for Vascular Dementia. Yet!

How long someone lives with vascular dementia varies widely. You can find estimated life expectancy estimates from 3 years to 20 years.

How long your loved one with vascular dementia will live depends on the underlying cause, other medical issues, the care they receive and age.

How Does Vascular Dementia Progress

stages of vascular dementia chart

Vascular dementia does not always have a typical progression that might be classified into stages, although its symptoms can generally be classified as fitting in the early stages, middle stages, or late stages of dementia.

Early stages of vascular dementia often includeimpaired memory, difficulty with executive functioning, word-finding difficulty, and a decline in attention. Mood and personality changes may also be seen in vascular dementia, and some people experience a decline in balance and walking.

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What Is Dementia And What Are The Different Types

Dementia is a general term used to describe the deterioration of a person’s mental ability that is severe enough to interfere with their daily life.

It is known for the problems it causes with thinking, reasoning and memory – as these are the areas in the brain that become damaged.

There are many different types of dementia. Each is is associated with a particular type of brain cell damage.

The symptoms of dementia that somebody has will depend on which part of the brain is deteriorating.

There are two main groups dementia can be split into, but some conditions fall into both categories:

  • Cortical, which causes severe memory loss .
  • Sub-cortical, which affects thinking speed and activity .

Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia are two of the most common forms of dementia and they both cause problems with memory.

Both are rare in young people aged under 65 years old.

Other common forms of dementia are Frontotemporal dementia, mostly diagnosed in those under 65 years old, and dementia with Lewy bodies, where nerve damage gradually gets worse over time causing slowed movement.

How Quickly Does Dementia Usually Progress

There are 7 signs of dementia and each stage where signs present themselves can last for different lengths of time.;

Symptoms could progress differently from patient to patient.

Once early dementia hits and loss of cognitive function becomes more noticeable, it becomes easier to identify how quickly dementia might progress.

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Stage : Initial Mild Stage

Initial mild stage is also one of the vascular dementia that people should know and try to reduce its signs and symptoms for good.

This is known as the starting of this kind of disorder. During this stage, he or she will become more forgetful than ever before.

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They will have difficulty in remembering what they were talking about and what they need to do. Besides, they will find it hard to concentrate at work, thus decreasing work performance. People can get lost more often and feel difficult to find the right words.

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This stage of vascular dementia often begins to show signs and symptoms, about 5-7 years before the prediction of the presence of this disorder. Also, there is no diagnosis of vascular dementia.

This is in brief one of the vascular dementia stages, so people should not look down, yet work with their doctors and familiars; in order to manage their conditions.

Alma And Silvias Story

What is Vascular Dementia?

Alma had been forgetful for years, but even after her family knew that Alzheimers disease was the cause of her forgetfulness, they never talked about what the future would bring. As time passed and the disease eroded Almas memory and ability to think and speak, she became less and less able to share her concerns and wishes with those close to her.

This made it hard for her daughter Silvia to know what Alma needed or wanted. When the doctors asked about feeding tubes or antibiotics to treat pneumonia, Silvia didnt know how to best reflect her mothers wishes. Her decisions had to be based on what she knew about her moms values, rather than on what Alma actually said she wanted.

Quality of life is an important issue when making healthcare decisions for people with dementia. For example, medicines are available that may delay or keep symptoms from becoming worse for a little while. Medicines also may help control some behavioral symptoms in people with mild-to-moderate Alzheimers disease.

However, some caregivers might not want drugs prescribed for people in the later stages of Alzheimers. They may believe that the persons quality of life is already so poor that the medicine is unlikely to make a difference. If the drug has serious side effects, they may be even more likely to decide against it.

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Caregiving During The Late Stages

As patients continue to lose both cognitive and functional abilities in the later stages of dementia, they inevitably become less active. Because they are less active, they require less food and might not have an appetite or might simply forget to eat.

As a caregiver, it is important to make sure the patient is eating healthy and nourishing foods. If necessary, adapt foods to make it easier for the patient to swallow and digest.

Caregivers should also continue to provide comfort, love, support, and companionship as necessary.

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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Dementia Stages: How Fast Dementia Progresses Stages Of Dementia And More

Dementia is a progressive impairment of cognitive function caused by damage to the brain. Over time, a person with dementia will have increased difficulty with memory, understanding, communication, and reasoning.

Healthcare providers frequently speak about a persons dementia in terms of stages. This can be helpful for communicating with family or other healthcare providers regarding the persons illness, and it is important for determining an appropriate care plan.

How Fast Does Dementia Progress?

It is important to note that dementia progresses at different speeds for every person, and for different types of dementia. The most well-known form of dementia, Alzheimers disease, is just one specific type of dementia, and tends to have the slowest progression of all types. Some factors that affect the rate of progression include:

  • Age
  • Repeated infections

What are the Stages of Dementia?

There are a few different systems used to grade dementia — at the most basic there is early, moderate, and end. Many providers use the system developed by Dr. Barry Reisberg of New York University which includes 7 stages. The Reisberg scale is also known as the GDS or Global Deterioration Scale for Assessment of Primary Degenerative Dementia. This scale focuses primarily on cognitive abilities.

Dementia Stages in the Reisberg Scale

Dementia Stages in the FAST Scale

Dementia Stages in the CDR Scale

Can Dementia Get Worse Suddenly

stages of vascular dementia chart

Dementia is a progressive condition, meaning that it gets worse over time. The speed of deterioration differs between individuals. Age, general health and the underlying disease causing brain damage will all affect the pattern of progression. However, for some people the decline can be sudden and rapid.

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Support For Dementia Caregivers At The End Of Life

Caring for people with Alzheimers or other dementias at home can be demanding and stressful for the family caregiver. Depression is a problem for some family caregivers, as is fatigue, because many feel they are always on call. Family caregivers may have to cut back on work hours or leave work altogether because of their caregiving responsibilities.

Many family members taking care of a person with advanced dementia at home feel relief when death happensfor themselves and for the person who died. It is important to realize such feelings are normal. Hospicewhether used at home or in a facility gives family caregivers needed support near the end of life, as well as help with their grief, both before and after their family member dies.

Using The Gds To Measure Dementia Progression

As the disease progresses, different signs and symptoms will become increasingly obvious. While there are several scales to measure the progression of dementia, the most common scale is the Global Deterioration Scale for Assessment of Primary Degenerative Dementia . The scale is also known as the Reisberg Scale. According to the GDS, there are seven different stages of Alzheimers disease correlating with four distinct categories: no Alzheimers, mild Alzheimers , moderate Alzheimers , and severe Alzheimers .

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What Stage Of Dementia Does Sundowning Start

Sundowning is a distressing symptom that affects people in mid- to late-stage Alzheimers and other forms of dementia. Also known by the term late-day confusion, it refers to the agitation and confusion often experienced by those with dementia towards the end of the day hence the term sundowning.

How Is Vascular Dementia Treated

Four Stages of Dementia: The Final Stage

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

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Caregiving And Vascular Dementia

There are many ways to help your family member or friend maximize his or her independence and cope with the cognitive symptoms of vascular dementia. Unlike Alzheimerâs disease, individuals with vascular dementia might better remember things in their daily life when repetition and context are provided. Likewise, simple cues can jog recall when remembering is difficult for the person. Structured and predictable routines can be helpful. Assistive devices and technology, such as pill boxes or electronic reminders on a phone, might be useful as well.

Breaking down complexânow overwhelmingâtasks into smaller and more manageable steps will make them easier to complete. Itâs also useful to simplify explanations and directions. As the disease progresses, even tasks learned years ago, like shaving or brushing teeth, may require step-by-step directions.

Problems with attention can make ;focusing and concentrating more difficult for your family member. Ensuring an environment that is not overly busy or noisy will make it easier to pay attention. Multi-tasking can be particularly difficult. Individuals with vascular dementia might have an easier time completing tasks when they focus on a single activity at a time, instead of dividing their attention between multiple tasks.;

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Can Treatment Slow The Stages Of Vascular Dementia

While there’s no guaranteed treatment for vascular dementia, researchers suggest that taking good care of your heart and your brain may be able to reduce the chance of, or slow, further progression. This includes maintaining a healthy blood pressure, exercising regularly, not smoking, and eating a healthy diet.

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How Are The Stages Of Dementia Diagnosed

During an evaluation process, doctors perform various tests to determine if a patient is suffering from dementia. These different tests include:

  • Cognitive tests: Different cognitive tests are available, like the General Practitioner Assessment of Cognition screening and the Mini-Cog 3-minute test. Also available are the Eight-item Informant Interview to Differentiate Aging and Dementia and the Short Informant Questionnaire on Cognitive Decline in the Elderly .

  • Neurological Evaluations: During this evaluation, doctors might perform a brain imaging study, like an MRI or CT scan. They will also check different functions including:

  • Balance

  • Cerebrospinal fluid analysis

  • Analysis of thyroid

  • Brain Scans: Cortisol atrophy is common in patients with dementia. This progressive loss of neurons causes the brain to appear thinner and wider as brain cells die and ventricles expand to fill the space. Doctors can identify this by performing computed tomographic and magnetic resonance imaging scans.

  • Psychiatric Evaluation: Psychiatric evaluations are normally done to determine if a patient has depression or other psychiatric disorders that could be contributing to their symptoms of dementia.;

A 2016 study has shown that:

  • A majority of patients with dementia also experience mood, behavior, and perception disturbances.

  • Patients with schizophrenia develop dementia later in life.

  • Depression could be associated with cognitive decline.

  • Alzheimers disease presents many psychiatric symptoms.

What Are The Seven Stages Of Dementia

Seven Stages of Dementia

Dementia is most often diagnosed using a global scale that assesses the varying stages of memory loss and the ability of the brain to function properly.;

If youre wondering what are the 7 stages of vascular dementia?, or most other forms of dementia, there is a general way to find out.

This scale, the Global Deterioration Scale for Assessment of Primary Degenerative Dementia , identifies the seven stages of dementia and has proven to be the most useful test for specifically diagnosing Alzheimers disease. It can be helpful for other forms of dementia diagnoses as well.

If you or someone you love is suffering from dementia, you might consider moving them to an assisted living facility. Senior Services of America operates independent living, assisted living, and memory care communities in many locations.

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Stage : Early Stage Of Vascular Dementia

During the initial stages of vascular dementia, regardless of the prognosis, a person is still able to function independently. In fact, most people may mistake the symptoms of this type of dementia to be those of normal aging.

For example, older people are known to experience slight lapses in memory, such as forgetting where they place things or have challenges finding the right words to complete a sentence.

During this stage, a person may continue working if they are employed or running a business without too much difficulty.

Many maintain a healthy social life and do not need much assistance with their day to day activities.

On average, the stage lasts anywhere from two-four years though it may be more or less for some people.


Some of the early symptoms that an individual may experience include:

Most people will not go to the hospital because the above symptoms are barely noticeable. This is not to say that a person is not aware that things are not the way they were before.

For your information, it is vital to get immediate medical attention when you notice that something is amiss. This is because the symptoms are an indication that there is a presence of brain damage that requires treatment.

During the initial stages, a person with vascular dementia may also be unusually emotional and prone to apathy.

End Of Life Dementia Care And Covid

Older adults and people with serious underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Older adults also have the highest rates of dementia. Given the risks that older adults face from both COVID-19 and dementia, its important to understand how to protect yourself and your loved one. Find more information about dementia and COVID-19 from the CDC.

When a dementia like Alzheimers disease is first diagnosed, if everyone understands that there is no cure, then plans for the end of life can be made before thinking and speaking abilities fail and the person with Alzheimers can no longer legally complete documents like advance directives.

End-of-life care decisions are more complicated for caregivers if the dying person has not expressed the kind of care he or she would prefer. Someone newly diagnosed with Alzheimers disease might not be able to imagine the later stages of the disease.

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