What is vascular dementia?
Vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia (after Alzheimer’s disease) and is caused by problems in supply of blood to the brain. The brain requires a constant supply of good blood in order to function properly, so if the blood flow to the brain stops it can cause damage and lead to vascular dementia. This form of dementia is at times very difficult to tell apart from Alzheimer’s and, furthermore, it is not uncommon for a senior to suffer from both Alzheimer’s and it at the same time.
Risk factors for vascular dementia include hypertension, smoking, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases, and prior strokes. Further strokes must be prevented to lessen the chance of developing multi-infarct dementia. Men are at a higher risk for developing this form of dementia.
Learn more about the Signs and Symptoms of Dementia.
Types of vascular dementia
There are different types of vascular dementia, separated by what has caused it to develop.
This is the most common form of vascular dementia and is caused when a person suffers a series of small, at times even unnoticeable, strokes. These strokes occur when blood supply to the brain is interrupted and begins to cause permanent damage, leading to the vascular dementia.
This form of vascular dementia is similar to multi-infarct dementia, but occurs after a single, larger and much more noticeable stroke. The same issues occur, with blood to the brain being cut off and permanent damage occurring.
Sub-cortical vascular dementia
Sometimes called small vessel disease, this sub-type of vascular dementia is caused by vascular damage to nerve cell fibres that lie deep within the brain. It is possible to suffer from this form of vascular dementia as well as a stroke-related form of vascular dementia.
This form of dementia is a combination of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, and happens when a person suffers from both. The symptoms may lean more towards Alzheimer’s or towards vascular dementia, or they may be a combination of both.
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