What is Vascular Dementia?

In a recent article, we talked about Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is only 1 of 4 types of Dementia. In this article we will talk about Vascular Dementia including what causes it and what symptoms can be expected.  Vascular Dementia is the second most common type of Dementia, and symptoms of Vascular Dementia are similar to Alzheimer’s disease.

As with patients suffering from Alzheimer’s, patients suffering from Vascular Dementia experience:

  • Confusion
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Inability to organize thoughts or to perform tasks
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Problems with memory
  • Wandering at night
  • Depression 

Who is At-Risk for Vascular Dementia?

This type of Dementia is a result of impaired blood flow to the brain. Persons in their 80s and 90s are at a higher risk but there are a number of health conditions that can lead to a predisposition. Many times, Vascular Dementia is brought on by a severe stroke or by a series of mini strokes. Symptoms can occur immediately after a stroke, but sometimes this disease develops more gradually.

Some other contributing factors are:

  1. Heart attacks
  2. Smoking
  3. Athersclerosis – cholesterol and other plaques build up in arteries, reducing blood flow to the brain
  4. High blood pressure – puts stress on blood vessels including vessels in the brain, which can lead to tissue damage and strokes
  5. Diabetes – high levels of glucose cause damage to blood vessels
  6. Atrial fibrillation – the upper chambers of the heart beat irregularly and out of sync with the lower chambers, which can lead to strokes
Chart of several health conditions that can lead to Vascular Dementia
Several health conditions can lead to Vascular Dementia

What you may gather from reading through the causes is that this type of Dementia is more preventable than other types. Exercising, eating a well-balanced diet, and keeping cholesterol levels down reduces the risk of heart disease and strokes. If you suspect that your loved one may be suffering Dementia, it is important for them to see their Doctor so that necessary steps can be taken for treatment.  

There are a number of Board & Care homes as well as Assisted Living communities that offer specialized programs for persons suffering from Dementia. At Care Placement, one of our qualified advisors will walk you through what the best environment would be for your loved one. If you are interested in looking into this type of care for your family member, give us a call at (619) 660-8814.

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