Vascular Dementia is the second most common form of Dementia after Alzheimer’s. It has the same types of symptoms as other forms of Dementia, but it’s causes are different.
It affects a different part of the brain than other forms of the disease. Vascular refers to blood vessels. Vascular dementia is caused by the reduced blood supply to the brain due to diseased blood vessels.
Symptoms of Vascular Dementia
Vascular dementia symptoms vary. It will depend on the part of your brain where blood flow has been impaired. Symptoms often overlap with those of other types of dementia, especially Alzheimer’s.
Studies show that many people with vascular disease also have Alzheimer’s disease.
Vascular Dementia Symptoms to be aware of:
- Depression or apathy
- Trouble paying attention and concentrating
- Problems with memory
- Restlessness and agitation
- Reduced ability to organize thoughts or actions
- Problems analyzing a situation
- Difficulty in developing an effective plan
- Challenge communicating that plan
- Unable to decide what to do next
- Unsteady gait
- Sudden or frequent urges to urinate or the inability to control passing urine
The impact of vascular conditions on thinking ability varies widely. It will depend on how badly damaged the blood vessel is and the part of the brain it affects. Memory loss may or may not be a symptom for the same reasons.
Vascular dementia is caused by anything that damages blood vessels, reducing or blocking blood flow to the brain. This could be a stroke that may block an artery and cause many different symptoms.
Anything that causes damage to your brain’s blood vessels. This hurts their ability to supply your brain with nutrition and oxygen it needs to perform effectively.
These could include memory, thinking, or movement changes. Other conditions, like diabetes or high blood pressure, can also damage blood vessels.
Conditions that narrow or inflict long-term damage on your brain blood vessels also can lead to vascular dementia. It could be as simple as aging. It could also be high blood pressure, diabetes, and brain hemorrhage.
Strokes are also a major contributor. Strokes that block a brain artery usually cause a range of symptoms that may include vascular dementia. However, some strokes don’t cause any noticeable symptoms. These silent strokes still increase the risk for dementia
With both silent and apparent strokes, the risk of vascular dementia increases with the number of strokes that happen over time.
It can also be difficult to diagnose right away. People will not function as they once did after a stroke. If the stroke has caused any damage, it can be a long time before anyone notices.
Things like speech, movement, memory, cognitive skills, and other mental and physical issues can be present. After a stroke, many people have trouble talking, walking, and even thinking clearly.
It’s important that they are seen by a doctor if these symptoms persist or you think the symptoms are more than aftershock of the stroke. Often, people think it’s the result of the stroke when it is developing into vascular Dementia.
Risk Factors for Vascular Dementia
Some of the risk factors are things we simply have no control over. There are areas where we can certainly improve our health and well-being.
- History of heart attack, strokes, or mini-stroke
- Abnormal aging of blood vessels (atherosclerosis). This condition occurs when deposits of cholesterol and other substances (plaques) build up in your arteries and narrow your blood vessels.
- High cholesterol. Elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the bad cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Atrial fibrillation which is an abnormal heart rhythm
Unlike types of Dementia that are inherited, there are measures you can take to reduce the risk of developing vascular Dementia.
Getting enough exercise isn’t just good for your body. It keeps your mind sharp and reduces the risks of strokes.
Keep your blood pressure down. That includes exercise, stressful situations, and controlling your diet.
Getting your cholesterol under control is also important. This is a great way to avoid heart health issues that can lead to vascular Dementia.
Quit smoking. Seriously, who still smokes?
Diet and exercise play such an important part of our overall health. Just like the risk of other diseases, diet and exercise can remove a lot of the risk.
Caring For Vascular Dementia
Like all forms of Dementia, it’s best to trust your loved one to the professionals. Finding a good memory care home will ensure your loved one is receiving the best care possible.
It can be very stressful for family members when they have a parent or loved one suffer a stroke. It is even more devastating to realize they are moving toward vascular Dementia as a result.
Memory care homes have trained and experienced staff to take care of all their needs. Get the peace of mind for the entire family when you trust your loved one to a memory care home.
The staff at Sycamore Creek Ranch is proactive. That means we are not waiting for a problem to arise. Instead, we are actively engaged with each and every resident. And with only 16 residents we can do that! Come for a tour at Sycamore Creek Ranch! See how we can help!