SUPPORT FOR OLDER ADULTS WITH MEMORY LOSS AND THEIR FAMILIES

What is Vascular Dementia?

Vascular dementia is the second most common cause of dementia, accounting for up to 30 percent of all dementia cases. Vascular dementia results from conditions that damage blood vessels or reduce circulation, depriving the brain of sufficiant oxygen and nutrients. While major strokes and multiple mini strokes are common causes of vascular dementia, not all strokes lead to vascular dementia.

Unlike Alzheimer’s disease, where symptoms of dementia become progressively more apparent, vascular dementia unrelated to Alzheimer’s is usually sudden and often becomes apparent soon after the event that causes damage to blood vessels. For many, changes in thought processes are noticeably inferior to the person’s previous level of functioning.

Vascular dementia symptoms include:

  • Difficulty paying attention or concentrating
  • Problems organizing thoughts or actions
  • Trouble speaking or following dialog
  • Difficulty planning or expressing a plan
  • Straining to decide what to do next
  • Problems with memory
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Unsteady gait or motor skills
  • Frequent urge to urinate or inability to control passing urine
  • Depression and global confusion

Conditions that narrow blood vessels or inflict long-term damage to brain blood vessels can also lead to vascular dementia. These conditions are commonly associated with high blood pressure, diabetes, lupus erythematosus, brain hemorrhage and temporal arteritis. In these cases, vascular dementia symptoms may be more akin to Alzheimer’s deseise, progressive in nature and not as plainly sudden.

In all types of dementia early treatment is beneficial. As it does in most types of dementia, vascular dementia shortens lifespan. For more information, visit Alz.org to KNOW MORE.

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