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What Are The Symptoms Of Vascular Dementia

What Is Vascular Dementia

Vascular dementia

Vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. It’s caused when decreased blood flow damages brain tissue. Blood flow to brain tissue may be reduced by a partial blockage or completely blocked by a blood clot.

Symptoms of vascular dementia may develop gradually, or may become apparent after a stroke or major surgery, such as heart bypass surgery or abdominal surgery.

Dementia and other related diseases and conditions are hard to tell apart because they share similar signs and symptoms. Although vascular dementia is caused by problems with blood flow to the brain, this blood flow problem can develop in different ways. Examples of vascular dementia include:

  • Mixed dementia. This type occurs when symptoms of both vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s exist.
  • Multi-infarct dementia. This occurs after repeated small, often “silent,” blockages affect blood flow to a certain part of the brain. The changes that occur after each blockage may not be apparent, but over time, the combined effect starts to cause symptoms of impairment. Multi-infarct dementia is also called vascular cognitive impairment.

Researchers think that vascular dementia will become more common in the next few decades because:

Treatments For Vascular Dementia

There is currently no cure for vascular dementia. There is also no way to reverse any loss of brain cells that happened before the condition was diagnosed.

But treatment can sometimes help slow down vascular dementia.

Treatment aims to tackle the underlying cause. This may reduce the speed at which brain cells are lost.

This will often involve:

Relationship Between Vad And Alzheimers Disease

Many people have a combination of vascular dementia and Alzheimers disease. This is called mixed dementia. In fact, having a combination of strokes and Alzheimers disease is more common than having either Alzheimers alone or having vascular dementia alone.

Vascular dementia, or vascular cognitive impairment, on its own can have different symptoms than Alzheimers. Whereas memory loss is a key warning sign of Alzheimers, some people with VaD will see changes to their personalities and/or ability to make decisions while their memories remain intact. This is because the effect of the disease depends on which parts of the brains are having problems with blood flow.

Put simply: Alzheimers disease is caused by a breakdown of the ability to communicate between brain cells because of plaques and tangles that build up between them vascular disease comes from a reduction in blood supply to a vital region of the brain.

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Safety And Supportive Measures

Creating a safe and supportive environment Creating a Beneficial Environment for People With Dementia can be very helpful.

Generally, the environment should be bright, cheerful, safe, stable, and designed to help with orientation. Some stimulation, such as a radio or television, is helpful, but excessive stimulation should be avoided.

Structure and routine help people with vascular dementia stay oriented and give them a sense of security and stability. Any change in surroundings, routines, or caregivers should be explained to people clearly and simply.

Following a daily routine for tasks such as bathing, eating, and sleeping helps people with vascular dementia remember. Following a regular routine at bedtime may help them sleep better.

Activities scheduled on a regular basis can help people feel independent and needed by focusing their attention on pleasurable or useful tasks. Such activities should include physical and mental activities. Activities should be broken down in small parts or simplified as the dementia worsens.

Providing Care For Someone With Vascular Dementia

Subcortical Vascular Dementia Life Expectancy

Caring for someone with vascular dementia is challenging. Understanding the disease and knowing what to expect is the best thing that caregivers can do to be prepared. Because so many cases of VaD result from stroke, caregivers may also have to assist their loved ones with physical tasks if they are impaired following the stroke. Please visit our caregiving section for a comprehensive guide to providing care for dementia.

Broadly, these are ways you can help care for someone who has vascular dementia: Create a more structured routine, with meals, getting dressed, and other activities of living occuring at about the same time every day. Simplify tasks as much as possible. Subtle reminders to do things like go to the bathroom can be enough to help ease daily difficulties.

Unfortunately, dementia gets worse over time. Respite care and adult day care programs can be useful for helpful supervision of a loved one who is losing independence, but eventually a move into assisted living with memory care will become necessary. Be sure to communicate regularly with doctors who can help you be prepared for whats coming. If you need help finding memory care that fits your familys budget and needs, .

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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Vascular Dementia

Symptoms of vascular dementia can appear suddenly and may progress slowly over time. 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.

What Are The Symptoms Of 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
  • 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

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Lack Of Interest In Daily Activities

One of the common vascular dementia symptoms is when one loses interest in daily activities. Not only that, but he or she has a problem completing mundane tasks.

What was once kids stuff, all of a sudden becomes a struggle.

If you notice a significant change in daily activities in your relative, observe carefully how it progresses. Bear in mind, if it is just a one-time thing, there is no need to call the doctor just yet.

However, if it keeps appearing on a regular basis, taking action is highly advisable. It is the small things and details that we should not miss when watching over an older adult before it is too late.

Frequent Tripping And Falling

Challenges of managing the neuropsychiatric symptoms of Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia

This is the last but very important out of the early vascular dementia symptoms that I want to introduce in this entire article and want all of my readers to know if they are suspecting to have vascular dementia. People with vascular dementia often trip over their own feet, resulting in falls. This occurs as they have problems with spatial and visual perception, which makes an increase in frequent falls. Actually, walking and balance problems often occur even in case a patient has mild cognitive impairment.

A study published in 2022 pointed out that dementia was the main risk factor for frequent falls. In case you or someone else you know has frequent falls, talk about this condition with a doctor because it may be one of the early vascular dementia symptoms.

Some other vascular dementia symptoms that patients may experience:

Skipping lines while reading

Loss of motor skills and sense of smell and touch

Seeing things that are not there

Difficulty in controlling urination

Difficulty in doing tasks that require many steps

Muscle weakness

Some articles related to dementia and other conditions that you should know:

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Lifestyle Changes To Improve Vascular Dementia Symptoms

A diagnosis of dementia is scary. But its important to remember that many people with dementia can lead healthy, fulfilling lives for years after the diagnosis. Dont give up on life! As much as possible, continue to look after your physical and emotional health, do the things you love to do, and spend time with family and friends.

The same strategies used to keep your brain healthy as you age and prevent the onset of dementia can also be used to improve symptoms.

Find new ways to get moving. Research suggests that even a leisurely 30-minute walk every day may reduce the risk of vascular dementia and help slow its progression. Regular exercise can also help control your weight, relieve stress, and boost your overall health and happiness.

Create a network of support. Seeking help and encouragement from friends, family, health care experts, and support groups can improve your outlook and your health. And its never to late to make new friends and expand your network.

Eat for heart health. Heart disease and stroke share many of the same risk factors, such as high LDL cholesterol , low HDL cholesterol , and high blood pressure. Adopting a heart-healthy diet may help to improve or slow down your dementia symptoms.

Make it a point to have more fun.Laughing, playing, and enjoying yourself are great ways to reduce stress and worry. Joy can energize you and inspire lifestyle changes that may prevent further strokes and compensate for memory and cognitive losses.

Cognitive Symptoms Of Vascular Dementia

The cognitive symptoms of vascular dementia overlap with those of Alzheimers disease, but there are some characteristic differences as well. In both conditions, memory is damaged. Memory

requires both the capacity to store new input and the ability to retrieve what has been stored. While those with Alzheimers disease often fail to record new information, people with vascular dementia tend to show an even more noticeable difficulty with retrieval. In life situations, this means that cues and reminders offer greater support to people with vascular dementia than to people with Alzheimers disease. Reminding someone with Alzheimers disease of something they have forgotten can turn into a frustrating failure, while reminding a person with vascular dementia often stimulates some recall.

Additional cognitive features can provide further clues to the presence of vascular dementia. While Alzheimers disease prominently affects the brains neocortex, vascular dementia often includes damage to deeper brain structures called subcortical. When brain destruction is subcortical, people may show characteristic symptoms associated with damage to those brain areas. They can have difficulty in translating knowledge into action and become stuck. They may process new information slowly, and their ability to shift from one topic to another is damaged. Abstract or complicated thinking is impaired.

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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 linked below to find out more about the disease, care, support, and research.

Vascular Dementia Signs And Symptoms

Symptoms Of Vascular Dementia Stock Image

Vascular dementia affects different people in different ways and the speed of the progression also varies from person to person. Some symptoms may be similar to those of other types of dementia and usually reflect increasing difficulty to perform everyday activities like eating, dressing, or shopping.

Behavioral and physical symptoms can come on dramatically or very gradually, although it appears that a prolonged period of TIAsthe mini-strokes discussed aboveleads to a gradual decline in memory, whereas a bigger stroke can produce profound symptoms immediately. Regardless of the rate of appearance, vascular dementia typically progresses in a stepwise fashion, where lapses in memory and reasoning abilities are followed by periods of stability, only to give way to further decline.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Vascular Dementia
Mental and Emotional Signs and Symptoms
  • Slowed thinking
  • Language problems, such as difficulty finding the right words for things
  • Getting lost in familiar surroundings
  • Laughing or crying inappropriately
  • Difficulty planning, organizing, or following instructions
  • Difficulty doing things that used to come easily
  • Reduced ability to function in daily life

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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 Causes Vascular Dementia

Vascular dementia is caused by different conditions that interrupt the flow of blood and oxygen supply to the brain and damage blood vessels in the brain.

People with vascular dementia almost always have abnormalities in the brain that can be seen on MRI scans. These abnormalities can include evidence of prior strokes, which are often small and sometimes without noticeable symptoms. Major strokes can also increase the risk for dementia, but not everyone who has had a stroke will develop dementia.

Other abnormalities commonly found in the brains of people with vascular dementia are diseased small blood vessels and changes in “white matter” the connecting “wires” of the brain that are critical for relaying messages between brain regions.

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Psychological And Psychosocial Therapies

Psychological therapies for dementia include some limited evidence for reminiscence therapy , some benefit for cognitive reframing for caretakers, unclear evidence for validation therapy and tentative evidence for mental exercises, such as cognitive stimulation programs for people with mild to moderate dementia. Offering personally tailored activities may help reduce challenging behavior and may improve quality of life. It is not clear if personally tailored activities have an impact on affect or improve for the quality of life for the caregiver.

Adult daycare centers as well as special care units in nursing homes often provide specialized care for dementia patients. Daycare centers offer supervision, recreation, meals, and limited health care to participants, as well as providing respite for caregivers. In addition, home care can provide one-to-one support and care in the home allowing for more individualized attention that is needed as the disorder progresses. Psychiatric nurses can make a distinctive contribution to people’s mental health.

Some London hospitals found that using color, designs, pictures and lights helped people with dementia adjust to being at the hospital. These adjustments to the layout of the dementia wings at these hospitals helped patients by preventing confusion.

Cognitive training

Personally tailored activities

Vascular Dementia Vs Alzheimers

Diagnosis and Management of Vascular Dementia | Stephen Chen, MD | UCLAMDChat

Alzheimers disease, like vascular dementia, is a form of dementia. In fact, it is the most common type. Some people use the terms interchangeably. However, Alzheimers is a type of dementia, not dementia itself.

Unlike vascular dementia, Alzheimers disease isnt caused by stroke. There is no known cause of Alzheimers, and your risk of developing it increases with age. The Alzheimers Association estimates that it makes up 80 percent of all dementia diagnoses, which is why the two terms are often confused. Vascular problems, such as stroke, high cholesterol, and hypertension, arent related to Alzheimers disease, as they are with vascular dementia.

While Alzheimers can cause memory issues, some of the first signs are not memory related. Adults in the early stages of the disease might have vision, word finding, and spatial difficulties. It can also cause poor judgement in everyday tasks. This differs a bit with vascular dementia, which usually causes memory problems in the earliest stages.

Although vascular dementia and Alzheimers are not the same disease, it is possible to have both. In fact, according to the Alzheimers Society, about 10 percent of people who have dementia have a form called mixed dementia. Most of these cases include both vascular dementia and Alzheimers disease. A person in this situation could exhibit symptoms of both of these types of dementia.

Several conditions and factors can damage blood vessels. They include:

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How Long Can Person With Vascular Dementia Care For Themselves

A person with vascular dementia will need help with at least some aspects of daily function, such as managing medications, paying bills or preparing food. You or your family member with vascular dementia may be able to do many things for themselves although, it may not be safe for them to live alone, depending on what abilities are affected. For some people with vascular dementia, more specialized care may be required from facilities that care specifically for people with dementia.

Symptoms Of Vascular Dementia

Vascular dementia symptoms often overlap with Alzheimers symptoms. The most significant symptoms of vascular dementia involve thinking speed and problem solving rather than memory loss.

According to the Mayo Clinic, vascular dementia symptoms include:

  • Confusion
  • Trouble paying attention and concentrating
  • Reduced ability to organize thoughts or actions
  • A decline in the ability to analyze a situation, develop a plan and communicate that plan to others
  • Slowed thinking
  • Difficulty deciding on a task to do next
  • Memory problems
  • Frequent urination
  • Depression

Vascular dementia symptoms may follow a series of strokes or ministrokes, and signs may be the clearest after a stroke.

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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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