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What Does Vascular Dementia Do To The Brain

What Can I Do To Keep My Brain Healthy

What is vascular dementia?

What makes up our risk of developing dementia is a complex mix of factors such as age, genetics and lifestyle factors. While we cannot change our age or genetic makeup, we can make positive lifestyle changes that will help to reduce our overall risk of developing dementia, and that is worthwhile.

Steps to look after our heart health can help reduce our risk of dementia, especially vascular dementia and Alzheimers disease. This includes lifestyle approaches such as: stopping smoking, being physically active every day, eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, drinking alcohol in line with government recommendations, and keeping mentally active.

If you are worried that you are experiencing any signs or symptoms of dementia, it is best to discuss these with your doctor.

If have any questions about dementia, or want to take part in research, you can contact the Dementia Research Infoline by phone on 0300 111 5 111 or by email at .

Watch Olives story to hear from someone living with vascular dementia:

Preparing For An Appointment

If you’ve had a stroke, your first conversations about your symptoms and recovery will likely take place in the hospital. If you’re noticing milder symptoms, you may decide you want to talk to your doctor about changes in your thought processes, or you may seek care at the urging of a family member who arranges your appointment and goes with you.

You may start by seeing your primary care doctor, but he or she is likely to refer you to a doctor who specializes in disorders of the brain and nervous system .

Because appointments can be brief, and there’s often a lot of ground to cover, it’s a good idea to be well-prepared for your appointment. Here’s some information to help you get ready and know what to expect from your doctor.

What Other Things Help

In addition to medications, there are various ways to help a person with vascular dementia. Research has shown that physical exercise and maintaining a healthy weight help to enhance brain health and reduce the risk of heart problems, stroke and other diseases that affect blood vessels. A balanced diet, enough sleep and limited alcohol intake are other important ways to promote good brain health and reduce the risk for heart disease. Other illnesses that affect the brain, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, should also be treated if present.

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Fca Fact And Tip Sheets

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.

101 Montgomery Street | Suite 2150 | San Francisco, CA 94104

800.445.8106 toll-free | 415.434.3388 local

Diagnosis Of Vascular Dementia

How Dementia Affects The Brain

A diagnosis of dementia is based on the following:

  • Symptoms, which are identified by asking the person and family members or other caregivers questions

  • Results of a physical examination

  • Results of mental status testing

  • Results of additional tests, such as computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging

Mental status testing, consisting of simple questions and tasks, helps doctors determine whether people have dementia.

Neuropsychologic testing, which is more detailed, is sometimes needed. This testing covers all the main areas of mental function, including mood, and usually takes 1 to 3 hours. This testing helps doctors distinguish dementia from other conditions that can cause similar symptoms, such as age-associated memory impairment, mild cognitive impairment, and depression.

Information from the above sources helps doctors usually rule out delirium as the cause of symptoms . Doing so is essential because delirium, unlike dementia, can often be reversed if promptly treated.

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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.

Causes Effects Of Vascular Dementia & Its Treatments

Dementia is a health condition that makes a person less active and inept to perform several day-to-day activities. This article discusses the causes, effects and possible treatments of vascular dementia.

Dementia may be related to several factors and no specific reasons for dementia have been found yet. The affected persons brain functions deteriorate with time. In this condition, the victims undergo problems related to remembering, planning and even coordinating things and movements. Vascular dementia is a type of dementia and the second most occurring type of dementia, the first being Alzheimers disease. Records have stated that this condition affects millions of aged people all over the world.

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End Of Life And Legal Issues

If you have been diagnosed with dementia, you might want to make arrangements for your care that take into account the decline in your mental abilities.

This may include making sure that your wishes are upheld if you’re not able to make decisions for yourself.

You may want to consider:

  • creating an advance decision, which makes your treatment preferences known in case you’re unable to do this in the future
  • having a “preferred place of care” plan, which outlines where you would like to receive treatment
  • giving a relative lasting power of attorney, enabling them to make decisions about you if you’re unable to

Stage : Early Stage Moderate Vascular Dementia

Understanding Dementia: The Brain and Dementia

This is also one of the most important vascular dementia stages that everyone should not look down but watch out carefully for good! This stage is the only one wherein the signs and symptoms are clear for the first time. This is because the condition has advanced to the 4th stage and is very clear and evident. People suffering from vascular dementia in this stage tend to stay away from their family and friends. They find it hard to frame sentences and maintain a conversation.

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This stage will last for 2-3 years before everything gets more serious if there is no treatment. The most effective way to treat this condition is to stimulate the individual who are suffering from this disorder to join a community workshop. At this place, he or she will be instructed to play games, which have effect on sharpening the motor and memory skills. In this stage, individual will be diagnosed with moderate vascular dementia.

This is actually also one out of the vascular dementia stages that a lot of people in the world have been diagnosed and have been trying to minimize the damages.

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How Do You Calm Down Someone With Dementia

Dementia is a frustrating disease and it can be difficult to care for someone living with it. Calming someone down with dementia can be done by listening to the persons frustrations and reassuring them that you are there to help and that they are safe.

You may also create a more calming environment for them through lighting and ambient noise. Playing calming music is a good way to provide a distraction so the person can calm down.

The type of dementia you have will determine how long the later stage will last. For example, the later stages of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease could last a few months while the aggressive stage of Alzheimers could last 1-2 years.

Dementia care can cost anywhere between £100,000 and £500,000. Persons with assets below £23,250 are eligible for funding for this care from their local council.

Lbs In Other Disorders

Incidental LBs

LBs are found in about 10% of brains from normal elderly individuals over age 65 years . These cases may represent the earliest stages of PD, and the distribution of LBs and the non-motor clinical manifestations in some cases seem to favor this argument . In particular, such cases have LBs, albeit in small numbers and not accompanied by neuronal loss or gliosis, in brain regions that are vulnerable to pathology in full-blown PD. Given the lack of overt parkinsonism, such cases have been referred to as being incidental. It is not known whether these individuals, who may or may not have non-motor prodromal features of PD, would have eventually progressed to PD, but preliminary evidence favors this hypothesis .

Pure Autonomic Failure

When the involvement of the autonomic nervous system in PD and prodromal PD was investigated, it was found that some individuals with pure autonomic failure have LB pathology at autopsy . In those cases, LBs were detected in brain and autonomic ganglia and LNs in sympathetic nerve fibers in epicardium and peri-adrenal tissues . It is of interest that PD and individuals with incidental LBS may also have adrenal -synuclein pathology .

Dementia with LBs

R.A. Armstrong DPhil, in, 2015

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Treatments For Vascular Dementia

There’s currently no cure for vascular dementia and there’s 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, which may reduce the speed at which brain cells are lost.

This will often involve:

Other treatments, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, dementia activities and psychological therapies, can help reduce the impact of any existing problems.

Symptoms Of Vascular Dementia

What is Vascular Dementia??

Symptoms of vascular dementia depend on what part of the brain is affected and to what extent. Like Alzheimer’s disease, the symptoms of vascular dementia are often mild for a long time. They may include:

  • Problems with short-term memory
  • Wandering or getting lost in familiar surroundings
  • Laughing or crying at inappropriate times
  • Trouble concentrating, planning, or following through on activities
  • Trouble managing money
  • Hallucinations or delusions

Symptoms that suddenly get worse often signal a stroke. Doctors look for symptoms that progress in noticeable stages to diagnose vascular dementia. Alzheimer’s, by comparison, progresses at a slow, steady pace. Another clue is impaired coordination or balance. In vascular dementia, problems walking or balancing can happen early. With Alzheimer’s, these symptoms usually occur late in the disease.

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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. 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

What Happens To The Brain In Alzheimer’s Disease

The healthy human brain contains tens of billions of neuronsspecialized cells that process and transmit information via electrical and chemical signals. They send messages between different parts of the brain, and from the brain to the muscles and organs of the body. Alzheimers disease disrupts this communication among neurons, resulting in loss of function and cell death.

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Dementia With Lewy Bodies

The brain of a person with dementia with Lewy bodies often shows less overall shrinkage than the brain of someone with Alzheimer’s or FTD. Instead, tiny deposits of protein are seen in the cerebral cortex, limbic system and brain stem.

In DLB, early damage is seen in the visual pathways and – in some studies – also in the frontal lobes. This may explain why problems with vision and attention are common early symptoms of DLB.

Similarly, Lewy bodies in the brain stem may be linked to the problems with movement, as also seen in Parkinson’s disease.

Dementia Connect support line

Functional Signs Of Dementia

How Does Dementia Affect The Brain?

Functional imaging of the brain can include a functional MRI, a positron emission tomography , or a single photon emission computed tomography scan. This kind of imaging serves as a complement to structural imaging, focusing on the underlying brain chemistry and activity rather than its physical composition.

SPECT and PET are similar kinds of scans, and in most cases of degenerative dementia, can showcase bilateral, biparietal, and bitemporal hyperperfusion. Some ligand compounds can reveal the impaired integrity of presynaptic dopamine transporters, present both in degenerative dementias and Parkinson’s disease.

The external signs of dementia can often be mistaken for those of another condition, but neural imaging can analyze the internal signs of the disease and help draw a firmer conclusion about a patient’s specific condition, and the progression of that condition.


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Symptoms And Disease Course

Symptoms differ depending on what part and how much of the brain is affected, and can overlap with those of other types of dementia. Symptoms are likely to be more gradual and less dramatic in multi-infarct than in post-stroke dementia. For example, in multi-infarct dementia a gradual decline in some aspects of speech and language may be noticed, whereas immediately following a stroke there can be a sudden change in speech.

Vascular dementia does generally progress, but the speed and pattern of cognitive decline, motor skills slowing, and mood changes can vary. Some individuals may experience memory loss, whereas others may exhibit changes primarily in mood and behavior.

Like all dementias, individuals in later stages will show overall cognitive changes and will depend on others for care. Symptoms common in both post-stroke and multi-infarct type dementia can include:

  • confusion and difficulty problem-solving
  • changes in mood including loss of interest in regular activities
  • trouble finding the right word
  • motor symptoms including clumsiness and slow or unsteady gait disturbance.

Family caregivers may find it difficult to know how to provide help when symptoms are so variable. Getting a definitive diagnosis will make it easier to provide care now and in the future.

Effects Of Vascular Dementia

Vascular dementia affects the brain and the overall psyche of a person. This condition can grow over time, if not treated properly. This disease can occur at any age but is more common in the late fifties and the early sixties of a person. The following are some of the effects of vascular dementia.

Loss of Memory: People suffering from vascular dementia often experience loss of memory. They cannot remember what had happened in the past and often lose track of things that must have happened at a certain stage of their lives. This, however, does not mean that all their life memories get wiped out. It is just that patches of their memories start to fail. This process can worsen with the passing phase of time.

Confused Thought Process as an Effect of Vascular Dementia: Vascular dementia also spoils the ability to think clearly. The victim often cannot think in a clear and logical manner. Reasonability takes a huge backseat and the person often sounds and acts in an irrelevant manner.

Problem with Language: Often, patients suffering from vascular dementia face problems of inability to speak in proper languages. Proper use of language and expression becomes a major challenge for them. This too is one of the common effects of vascular dementia.

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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

What Is Vascular Dementia

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The word dementia describes a set of symptoms that can include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. In vascular dementia, these symptoms occur when the brain is damaged because of problems with the supply of blood to the brain.

These pages outline the causes, types and symptoms of vascular dementia. It looks at how it is diagnosed and the factors that can put someone at risk of developing it. It also describes the treatment and support that are available.

Press play to watch a three-minute video about vascular dementia:

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Who Is Affected By Lewy Body Dementia

LBD is a disease associated with abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein in the brain. These deposits, called Lewy bodies, affect chemicals in the brain whose changes, in turn, can lead to problems with thinking, movement, behavior, and mood. LBD is one of the most common causes of dementia, after Alzheimers disease and vascular disease.

Dementia is a severe loss of thinking abilities that interferes with a persons capacity to perform daily activities such as household tasks, personal care, and handling finances. Dementia has many possible causes, including stroke, tumor, depression, and vitamin deficiency, as well as disorders such as LBD, Parkinsons, and Alzheimers.

Diagnosing LBD can be challenging for a number of reasons. Early LBD symptoms are often confused with similar symptoms found in brain diseases like Alzheimers. Also, LBD can occur alone or along with Alzheimers or Parkinsons disease.

There are two types of LBD dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinsons disease dementia. The earliest signs of these two diseases differ but reflect the same biological changes in the brain. Over time, people with dementia with Lewy bodies or Parkinsons disease dementia may develop similar symptoms.


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