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Vascular dementia

Vascular dementia is a general term that describes problems with reasoning, planning, judgment, memory and other thought processes, caused by brain damage due to impaired blood flow to the brain.

Vascular dementia can be developed due to blockage of the arteries in the brain after a stroke, but stroke will not always result in this condition, depending on its severity and location.

Vascular dementia can be caused by other conditions which damage the blood vessels and reduce the circulation, limiting the flow of oxygen and nutrients.

Factors that increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking can also increase the risk of vascular dementia. Control of these factors can help reduce the risk of developing vascular dementia.

Symptoms of vascular dementia

Symptoms of vascular dementia vary depending on the part of the brain where blood flow is disturbed. They often overlap with symptoms of other types of dementia, especially Alzheimer’s disease symptoms.

Symptoms of vascular dementia can be obvious when they occur suddenly after a stroke. However, vascular dementia can develop very slowly, like Alzheimer’s disease, moreover, vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease often occur together.

Studies show that people with symptoms of dementia usually have more than one type of change in the brain. Some doctors call this condition “mixed dementia”.

Vascular dementia can cause the following symptoms:

  • confusion
  • the lack of attention and concentration
  • decreased ability to organize thoughts or actions
  • decreased ability to analyze situations, effective planning and cooperation
  • problems with memory
  • restlessness and anxiety
  • unsteady gait
  • the sudden and frequent urge to urinate or urinary incontinence
  • wandering at night
  • depression

The causes of vascular dementia

Vascular dementia is the result of damage to blood vessels in the brain and reduced ability to supply the brain with large quantities of nutrients and oxygen, which are necessary for thought processes.

Common conditions that can lead to vascular dementia include :

  • stroke – stroke which blocks cerebral arteries usually cause a variety of symptoms, which may include vascular dementia . However, sometimes the stroke does not cause any noticeable symptoms. This “silent” stroke increases the risk of dementia. The risk of vascular dementia increases with several small strokes that occur over time, which is called multi – infarct dementia .
  • constriction or chronic damage of the blood vessels – conditions which cause constriction of blood vessels, or cause long-term damage, can also lead to vascular dementia. These conditions are associated with aging, high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries, diabetes, lupus erythematosus, bleeding in the brain and temporal arteritis .

Treatment of vascular dementia

Controlling the conditions that affect the health of your heart and blood vessels can sometimes slow down the rate at which vascular dementia worsens.

Depending on your condition, your doctor may prescribe medications for:

  • lowering blood pressure
  • lowering cholesterol levels
  • prevention of coagulation
  • controlling blood sugar levels if you have diabetes

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