What is Vascular Dementia?
Vascular dementia is a condition where cognitive skills decline due to reduced blood flow to the brain. When there is inadequate blood flow to the brain the cells do not get the needed oxygen and other nutrients and make it vulnerable. Those suffering from vascular dementia have problems with thinking skills, memory, reasoning, and judgment. The changes may start mildly or can occur suddenly. There are many types of vascular dementia, they are:
- Stroke related dementia
- Post-stroke dementia
- Single infarct or multi-infarct dementia
- Subcortical dementia
- Mixed dementia (Vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease)
Vascular Dementia Symptoms
The vascular dementia symptoms depend on the affected part of the brain and the extent. The symptoms do not manifest themselves for a long time or are mild and hence may go unnoticed. Some of the common signs are:
- Issues with short-term memory
- There is a lack of bladder control
- Getting lost even in familiar places
- Problems with concentration or following instructions when performing activities.
- Showing emotions at the wrong time. Inappropriate laughing or crying at the wrong time.
- Planning things and following throw becomes difficult
- Having a problem managing money.
Some of the symptoms mentioned above progress in stage and that helps a neurologist diagnose it as vascular dementia. If the symptoms get worse it can lead to a stroke.
Who is at Risk?
Vascular dementia risk factors are linked to the underlying health conditions. The factors are:
- It mostly happens as people age and occurs between 60 and 75 years.
- When compared to women, men suffer more from this condition.
- People of African-American descent are more affected than other races.
- People with chronic conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and triglycerides are at risk.
- Cigarette smokers
- People who lead a sedentary lifestyle
- People who are overweight or obese
- Women who use oral contraceptives
- People with a family history of this condition
- People with a condition that leads to clotting or thickening of the blood.
- People who are suffering from Atrial fibrillation
Vascular Dementia Causes
This condition of the brain is caused due to the reduced flow of blood to the brain. That results in damage and killing of the brain cells. The causes of vascular dementia are due to:
- A stroke where the blood supply to the brain is cut-off due to a blood clot. It is called single-infarct dementia or post-stroke dementia.
- Narrowing of the blood vessels in the brain due to a small vessel disease.
- Mini-strokes that lead to damage to the brain.
- A heart attack also causes an inadequate supply of blood and oxygen for a small-time.
- Alzheimer’s disease can also cause brain damage and vascular dementia.
How is Vascular Dementia Diagnosed?
If a person is having some of the symptoms mentioned above and the doctor sees changes in the reasoning and memory then screening for the vascular dementia diagnosis is recommended. It includes:
- A thorough examination of the family history followed by a physical examination.
- The doctor may speak to someone who the patient is close to, to determine changes in behaviour.
- Blood tests and imaging tests like MRI, CT scan and Electroencephalography is done to know the underlying cause.
- A balance, nerve, coordination, and reflex function test is conducted to confirm the diagnosis.
How is Vascular Dementia Treated?
There is no cure for this condition. Thus the main purpose of vascular dementia treatment is to treat the root cause that is leading to the blocking of blood flow to the brain. Some of the treatment options are:
- Modifications of lifestyle by decreasing the consumption of alcohol, quitting smoking, and following a healthy diet.
- Medicine for vascular dementia is mostly for managing problems with blood clotting and also to arrest the condition from progressing.
- Medications are provided if conditions like blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, and triglycerides are the cause.
- Stenting, angioplasty, endarterectomy procedures are performed to aid in better blood flow to the brain.
There is no Vascular dementia cure but it can be stopped from progressing by taking proper treatment. Contact our experienced neurologist at Cure.fit to get the best treatment.
How is Vascular Dementia Prevented?
Prevention of vascular dementia is possible and can be done by doing the following:
- Taking proper medications to control diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and heart attack.
- Consuming a healthy diet that is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, vegetables, fruits, beans, cereals, etc.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle by doing exercise regularly.
- Maintain a healthy weight as that can prevent lifestyle diseases.
- Quit smoking
- Indulge in activities that involve training the brain on cognitive skills.
- Be socially active