What is vascular dementia?

After Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia and is caused by problems in the supply of blood to the brain. Some of the causes include having a stroke, being physically inactive, partaking in a fatty diet, being diagnosed with diabetes, having high cholesterol, or high blood pressure. The symptoms of vascular dementia begin suddenly, such as after a stroke. While vascular dementia has many similar symptoms of dementia, there are a few different symptoms to be aware of such as:

  • problems thinking quickly, concentrating, or communicating
  • depression and anxiety
  • physical weakness or paralysis (similar to symptoms of stroke)
  • memory problems
  • seizures
  • periods of acute confusion
  • changes in behavior
  • visual misperceptions (like seeing a rug and thinking it’s a pond)
  • difficulties walking due to unsteadiness
  • hallucinations
  • incontinence

While the brain damage that causes vascular dementia cannot be reversed, the patient can take medications to treat the underlying causes, they can partake of a healthier lifestyle, and different therapies (such as occupational and speech) can slow down the progress of the disease.

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