Vascular Dementia or Alzheimer’s – What’s the Difference?

by | Oct 1, 2021 | Alzheimer's Disease, Dementia, Vascular Dementia


Alzheimer’s and Vascular Dementia are different types of dementia with several of the same characteristics, including some causes and symptoms. However, there are also several distinctions between the two.

First, it is important to understand what dementia is. To put it simply, this is an umbrella term used for an impaired ability to think, act, remember or make decisions, caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. It is the loss of overall cognitive functioning.

Though it affects mostly the elderly, to assume dementia is an inevitable part of aging would be incorrect as it can occur in middle-aged individuals too. If someone close to you has been diagnosed with either Alzheimer’s or Vascular Dementia, this run-through can help you help them.

What Are They?

Distinguishing between Vascular and Alzheimer’s Dementia.

Vascular Dementia is a decline in thinking skills caused by reduced blood flow to the brain. This deprives it of the oxygen and nutrients it needs to work. Inadequate blood blow damages and eventually kills brain cells and in doing so, hampers its overall functioning.

Several studies show vascular changes in the brain beget further changes that increase the extent of the disease. In other words, it is unlikely that Vascular Dementia will exist without any other types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s.

The latter directly affects memory, as well as other cognitive abilities, so much that it can interfere with daily life.

What Causes Them?

In most cases, Vascular Dementia occurs following an acute health event, such as strokes or ischemia. It can also be a result of blockages in the arteries and/or other heart conditions.

Alzheimer’s, on the other hand, is a bit more elusive. Doctors are yet to determine exactly what causes it but there are many contributing factors, from genetics, lifestyle, and quality of life.

How Common Are They?

The findings vary but it is estimated that about 10% of all global dementia cases are Vascular alone. Nearly 50% of elderly patients display signs. But Alzheimer’s is the most common, with more than 5 million Americans suffering from it today.

What Are The Symptoms?

Distinguishing between Alzheimer's and Vascular dementia

In Vascular Dementia,  cognitive function declines suddenly as a result of an unprecedented health event and then becomes better for some time in between. Yet, it is often accompanied by some sort of physical impairment, such as limited movement or inability to walk. Both cognitive and physical symptoms manifest simultaneously.

Alzheimer’s, in contrast, is gradual. First, the patient loses their memory and judgment. Over time, there is a loss of balance and slowing down, mentally and physically.

We Are Here To Help

At Sycamore Creek Ranch Memory Care we are here to help. We want families to make the best decision for their situation.

Furthermore, 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!

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