Circle of Life Care is here for all of those suffering or starting to suffer from different forms of dementia. In this blog, we are covering vascular dementia, including what it is, the symptoms, and how to prevent it. Vascular dementia is a general term used to describe problems with essential human functions like reasoning, planning, judgment, memory, and other thought processes. This is usually caused by impaired blood flow to your brain, which damages your brain.
Factors that increase your risk of heart disease and stroke play big roles in developing vascular dementia, including:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
There are quite a few symptoms when it comes to vascular dementia. The symptoms vary as well because it depends on what part of the brain is not getting enough blood. It is common for vascular dementia symptoms to overlap with other types of dementia, especially Alzheimer's.
Look out for these symptoms if you or someone you know thinks they’re experiencing vascular dementia:
- Random confusion
- Reduced ability to organize thoughts or actions
- Extreme difficulty and frustration when deciding what to do next
- A decline in the ability to analyze a situation, develop an effective plan, and communicate that plan to others
- Concerning problems with memory
- Restlessness and agitation
- Depression or apathy
- Trouble paying attention and concentrating
- Uncontrollable urges to urinate
These symptoms typically occur suddenly following a stroke. It is best to visit a doctor if these changes in your thinking and reasoning seem clearly linked to a stroke. Changes in your thought processes occur in noticeable steps downward from your previous level of function. Vascular dementia can also develop very gradually, just like Alzheimer's disease dementia. What's more, it is expected that those with vascular disease often have Alzheimer's disease.
Along with strokes, common conditions that may lead to vascular dementia include narrowed or chronically damaged brain blood vessels. Conditions that narrow or inflict long-term damage on your brain blood vessels also can lead to vascular dementia. These conditions include natural parts of life like aging, high blood pressure, abnormal aging of blood vessels (atherosclerosis), diabetes, and brain hemorrhage.
Risk Factors and How to Help Prevent Vascular Dementia
Most of these factors can be prevented by eating a healthy diet, staying away from smoking, and getting regular exercise.
Although this is an unavoidable part of life, your risk of vascular dementia rises as you grow older. The disorder is rare before age 65, and the risk increases substantially by your 90s.
History of heart attack or strokes
If you've had a heart attack, you might be at risk of having blood vessel problems in your brain. The brain damage that occurs with a stroke may increase your risk of developing any form of dementia.
Elevated low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels, also known as the "bad" cholesterol, are associated with an increased risk of vascular dementia.
High blood pressure
When your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra stress on blood vessels everywhere in your body, including your brain. This increases the risk of vascular problems in the brain.
High glucose levels damage blood vessels throughout your body. Damage in brain blood vessels can increase your risk of stroke and vascular dementia.
Smoking has many negative impacts on your body, but it directly damages your blood vessels, increasing your risk of atherosclerosis and other circulatory diseases, including vascular dementia.
Being overweight is a well-known risk factor for vascular diseases in general, and therefore, presumably increases your risk of vascular dementia.
In this abnormal heart rhythm, the upper chambers of your heart begin to beat rapidly and irregularly, out of coordination with your heart's lower chambers. Atrial fibrillation increases your stroke risk because it causes blood clots to form in the heart that can break off and go to the brain blood vessels. This naturally dramatically increases your risk for vascular dementia.
Contact Circle of Life
The knowledgeable and experienced staff and Circle of Life Care are dedicated to providing the Scottsdale area with premium homecare for those suffering from any type of dementia, including vascular dementia. Being diagnosed and living with dementia can be frightening and can leave you lost. We completely understand this and want to help. Contact us today to learn more about our assisted living facilities.