Mixed Dementia – What Is It, Symptoms & Treatment

mixed dementia

We studied and conducted a complete overview of self-explanatory mixed dementia.

People who have dementia may experience changes that represent TWO OR MORE types of dementia occurring simultaneously in the brain.

This disorder is quite complex.

There are several combinations possible which can be a mixture of one, two or even more of the types of dementia below:

The most common cases are usually a combination between blood vessel abnormalities commonly linked with vascular dementia and protein deposits usually seen in Alzheimer’s disease.

It is believed that about 10% of people with dementia also have the illness.

Scientists, however, reveal that this number could be HIGHER.

The illness may occur in different stages. These are important when it comes to guiding caregivers and physicians on how to best take care of people with this kind of dementia.

Below are seven common stages of mixed dementia.

7 Stages Of Mixed Dementia

1. No impairment

mixed dementia stages
This is where an individual can go about their business and life independently.

During this stage, there are no outward clear signs of the illness. At this stage, it is more or less if someone else suggests testing ourselves for (mixed) dementia or we read it in an article – like this one.

Since dementia starts developing years and years in advance, anyone at the age of around fifty should test themselves.

Sometimes even earlier.

2. Very Mild

very mild
The signs and symptoms at this stage also hardly manifest. Generally, there may appear normal forgetfulness signs that are associated with aging.

For instance, a person may struggle to remember the name of a loved one, but finally, figure it out after some time.

If these events start to repeat, become almost annoying, the individual should visit the doctor.

3. Mild

mild
During this point, the symptoms remain barely noticeable. A person may go on their daily lives without too much interruption.

Some people may, however, showcase symptoms such as repetition, slight memory loss, loss of concentration and difficulties managing finances such as balancing checkbooks.

Again if the person is doing the same mistakes again and again or forgetting the name of the same person, seeing the doctor is almost crucial.

4. Moderate

mixed dementia
It becomes clear at this stage that many people cannot complete routine tasks without some form of assistance.

This can be SIMPLE THINGS such as preparing meals, using the phone, changing television programs and completing laundry.

Some people also start to withdraw socially, experience incontinence and have trouble finding the right phrases or words.

5. Moderately Severe

moderately severe
During these final stages, people with this kind of dementia need help to go about their day to day lives.

Some symptoms may include an increase in memory loss, confusion regarding events, and current location.

Also, the need for a helping hand when picking appropriate clothing and tying shoelaces.

6. Severe

severe
The disease becomes worse at this stage and individuals can no longer perform duties on their own.

They may need a helping hand with a majority of their day-to-day activities including when dressing, going to the toilet, eating, walking, and sleeping.

At this time, a caregiver is almost a necessity.

7. Very Severe

very severe
The final stage is associated with signs like LOSS of muscle control, hard times with language ability, no control over urination, and losing awareness of the surroundings.

With this type of dementia, hence the name, several different symptoms and signs may occur from several other different dementias.

Mixed Dementia Symptoms

symptoms
Worth noting is that a diagnosis of mixed dementia is quite difficult.

Most people with the illness do not know that they have it because the many brain changes it involves are hard to detect.

Instead, persons are usually diagnosed with the kind of dementia that best suits the symptoms they have.

Many are the times when the disease is only seen during an autopsy rather than during life.

Depending on the dementia combination that a person has, the symptoms may vary widely.

Primarily, the symptoms are similar to those of a specific type of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Some people’s symptoms may be a clear indication of the existence of multiple kinds of dementia. These may include:

Learning Difficulties

learning difficulties
Trouble remembering newly acquired information is one of the earliest signs that people with dementia have.

You can teach a person something new today and if asked about it tomorrow, they may not know what you are talking about.

The reason for this is that dementia characteristically affects the section of the brain that is responsible for learning.

As a person grows older and the disease becomes worse, they may report more severe symptoms.

These can include disorientation, changes in behavior/mood, worsening confusion of places, time, and event, and becoming suspicious of friends, family members, or the caregivers who spend quality time with the individual with this type of dementia.

Loss of Memory

loss of memory
Everyone with dementia at one point experiences difficulties with memory. It usually starts off light something that does not bother many.

Trouble sets in when the loss of memory begins to interfere with a person’s ability to perform their normal daily tasks.

Signs of this may include the increasing need to rely on aids such as reminder notes or electronic devices to remember stuff.

Some people will even forget the most important dates of their lives like their birthdays, children’s/ partner’s birthdates, doctor’s appointments, and so on.

Many people with dementia also get into the habit of asking for the same details repeatedly.

Additionally, they may also lose things frequently and leave valuable items in unusual places.

Poor Judgement

poor judgement
People with mixed dementia may have a difficult time making the right call whenever necessary.

For instance, you may find that an individual does not have control over their money.

They may become over generous giving up huge chunks of money to telemarketers and other organizations.

Such people are usually vulnerable and they need a trustworthy person to guide them since they can easily fall into the hands of conmen.

As the disease, progresses, people with the illness may start to pay less attention to their bodies ignoring basic hygiene practices like brushing teeth, taking a shower, and putting on clean clothes, etc. Grooming becomes the last thing on their minds.

Mixed Dementia Treatment

treatment
To date, treatment for mixed dementia remains a challenge for medical practitioners.

However, there is a ray of hope for people with the illness because scientific studies show that it responds well to treatment options like:

Practicing Life-Long Heart-Healthy Lifestyle

practicing- ife-long heart healthy lifestyle
Although this is not a treatment option per say, leading a healthy lifestyle can help delay or prevent the advancement of symptoms as the person with dementia grows older.

When talking about a healthy lifestyle, it means eating right.

This is where you get at least 3 or 4 healthy balanced meals. Avoid processed foods and too much sugar.

People with this type of dementia should also drink loads of plain water, stop smoking, cease drinking alcohol, and take part in exercise even when it is not too strenuous to get the heart beating as it should.

It also involves honoring doctor’s appointments so that a professional can check you out and give any advice necessary.

Different Types of Therapy

different types of therapy
Some people with mixed dementia can benefit from various therapies.

These may include:

This is where the people with the illness take part in specific activities that help to stimulate thinking skills and how they interact with other people.

Most of the time these are usually group-based.

Facilitators often include games and music to make it more enjoyable.

Therapy can also assist with any movement issues to improve the overall quality and function of life.

It is best to have these done by a certified professional to avoid making things worse.

This is because it is not an easy task and caregivers need to be trained well on what to expect.

Drugs

drugs
Worth noting is that there is no medicine yet, for a person with a combination of two or more kinds of dementia.

Doctors may, however, prescribe various medicines in a bid to treat other underlying conditions that can cause damage to an individual’s blood vessels.

These include diseases like heart problems, stroke, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

Controlling these risk factors is vital because it may protect the brain from harmful vascular changes.

Some drugs can also help with a variety of symptoms.

This is where a person takes medicine to relieve symptoms such as aggression, agitation, and anxiety.

Before giving the go-ahead to take any medicine, the doctor has to assess the person’s environment and health.

Palliative Care

palliative care
Many people with mixed dementia end up in palliative care especially during the final stages of the disease.

This is the type of care that is accorded to people who have serious illnesses.

This can be done at home or in a health institution. It is quite different from the care that people receive when they are in the process of curing an illness.

The primary goal of this type of care is to enhance a person’s life quality focusing on the whole being i.e. mind, body, and soul.

Caregivers usually help persons under their care to become more independent while managing their daily lives.

They can also offer counseling and support when an individual needs these to help them feel better.

Final Thoughts


Thanks to advancements in the medical field, there are chances that as research continues to grow, mixed dementia will progressively be diagnosed and treated during life.

Experts are also coming up with new clinical trials for individuals to try and introduce new methods that will most likely manage, prevent, treat, or detect this type of dementia.

Multi-Infarct Dementia: What Is It?

multi-infarct dementia

A kind of dementia, multi-Infarct dementia (MID) is a type of vascular dementia that is caused by multiple strokes.

It is also considered to be the second-most common cause of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease.

The strokes interrupt blood flow to the brain, which ends up affecting how the organ functions.

A brain infarct or stroke happens due to the block or interruption of blood flow to any part of the brain.

Everything You Need To Know About Multi-Infarct Dementia

Blood transports oxygen and other essential nutrients to the brain. When the brain lacks oxygen, it causes the death of brain tissues.

Multi-Infract imply that multiple areas in the brain have been injured because of lack of blood from a series of small strokes.

There are times when blockages of the brain cause an infarction (stroke) without any stroke symptoms.

These are known as “silent” strokes which are known to increase an individual’s risk of getting vascular dementia.

If someone experiences a series of small strokes over time, they may end up developing infarct dementia.

Symptoms of Multi-Infarct Dementia

symptoms of multi-infarct dementia
The type of symptoms a person gets often depends on the area of the brain that the stroke has damaged.

At times the symptoms appear suddenly after a stroke or they may appear slowly over time.

We can categorize MID warning signs into two major sections as seen below.

Early Dementia Symptoms

  • Loss of executive function
  • Getting lost in familiar places or wandering
  • Short-term memory loss or confusion
  • Losing bowel or bladder control
  • Walking with shuffling rapid steps
  • Crying or laughing inappropriately
  • Challenges performing routine tasks like paying bills
  • Personality changes
  • Losing interest in activities or things that were previously enjoyed

Late-Stage Symptoms

As the disease progresses, a person may also experience other symptoms such as:

Some individuals may go through periods where they seem to improve and then decline after experiencing small strokes.

MID Risk Factors

MID risk factors of multi Infarct dementia
Some of the risk factors that increase a person’s risk of getting this disease include:

Medical Conditions

Diabetes, heart failure, previous strokes, atrial fibrillation, high blood pressure, cognitive decline prior to the stroke, and hardening of the arteries are some of the medical conditions that increase the risk of MID.

Age

Increasing age is a common risk factor for all types of dementia including MID.

The disease mostly affects persons who are between the ages of 60-75. In some rare cases, some people get the illness before they celebrate their 60th birthday.

Research also shows that men are slightly more likely to develop the disease than women.

Lifestyle Risk Factors

These include alcohol consumption, smoking, little to no physical activity, poor diet, and low level of education.

Diagnosing Multi-Infarct Dementia

diagnosing multi infarct dementia
There is no single test that can determine whether a person has MID or not. Worth noting is that each MID case is not the same.

One person may experience severe memory impairment while another individual may only experience mild memory loss.

Diagnosis can also be difficult because it is possible for a person to have both Alzheimer’s disease and MID making it challenging for a doctor to diagnose either of the diseases.

Medics base diagnosis on a number of factors such as:

  • History of stepwise mental decline
  • Blood pressure reading
  • Neurological exam
  • Blood tests
  • Physical Exams: this is where the doctor will ask questions pertaining to diet, sleep patterns, medications, past strokes, personal habits, stressful events, recent illness, and other medical issues.
  • Ruling out other causes of dementia like depression, diabetes, anemia, high cholesterol, brain tumors, carotid stenosis, chronic infections, thyroid disease, drug intoxication, vitamin deficiency, and high blood pressure.
  • Radiological imaging tests such as X-rays, CT & MRI scans that detail tiny areas of tissue that died from lack of adequate blood supply, electroencephalograms that measure the electrical activity of the brain, and transcranial doppler that is used to measure the velocity of blood flow through the blood vessels in the brain

MID Treatment Options

MID treatment options
Currently, there is no treatment for multi-infarct dementia.

Experts have not yet discovered how to reverse brain damage that occurs after a stroke. Treatment options mainly focus on preventing strokes from reoccurring in the future.

This is done by putting in place measures to avoid or control the medical conditions and diseases that put individuals at risk of experiencing strokes.

Stroke risk factors include diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and high cholesterol.

Treatment is also tailored to a person’s individual and most of them will include:

Medications

Doctors may prescribe certain medications to help improve symptoms such as:

  • Folic acid
  • Memantine
  • Hydergine
  • Nimodipine
  • Angiotensin: these help to lower blood pressure by converting enzyme inhibitors
  • Calcium channel blockers that help with short-term cognitive function
  • Some serotonin reuptake inhibitors that are antidepressants which may help neurons grow in a bid to re-establish connections in the brain

Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Practicing healthy habits is also key when it comes to MID treatment and some of them include:

Alternative Therapies

Herbal supplements are also common when it comes to treating MID. However, more studies are still necessary to prove their efficiency.

Some of the herbal supplements that are being studied for use in MID treatment are:

  • Lemon Balm: A great alternative to restore memory
  • Wormwood: It enhances cognitive function
  • Water Hyssop: Used to improve intellectual function and memory

It is important to consult a doctor before taking any supplements to be on the safe side.

Other treatment options include rehabilitation therapy for mobility problems and cognitive training to help regain mental function.

Caregiver Support

Relatives and friends of persons with MID can help them cope with their physical and mental problems.

This can be done by encouraging regular physical and social activities as well as daily routines to help reinforce mental abilities.

Alarm clocks, calendars, and lists are useful when it comes to reminding the affected persons of important events and times.

MID Prognosis

MID prognosis
The prognosis for persons with multi-infarct dementia is not clear.

This is mostly because the symptoms of the disease can appear all over sudden after each small stroke mostly in a step-wise pattern.

Some individuals with the disorder can appear to improve after some time and then decline after experiencing silent strokes.

The disease will spiral downwards with intermittent periods of fast deterioration. Some people may die after a MID diagnosis while others will survive many years.

Death may also occur from heart disease, stroke, pneumonia, or other infections.

Dementia and Cholesterol – Is There a Risk?

dementia and cholesterol

Several studies report that there is a link between dementia and cholesterol levels in the human body.

Before getting deeper into this, it is important to note that cholesterol is essential for the healthy functioning of the body.

But there is a catch.

Is There a Link Between Dementia and Cholesterol?

Without this, people would not be able to produce hormones or digest food.

We can describe cholesterol as a waxy-like fatty substance that the liver produces.

It is also present in some foods. Cholesterol circulates through the blood-stream in carries known as lipoproteins made of proteins and fats.

Even though the fatty substance is beneficial, too much cholesterol in the blood can harm vascular and heart health.

There are two types of cholesterol

there are two types of cholesterol
1. HDL (high-density lipoprotein) – also known as “good cholesterol” this is responsible for preventing the build-up of cholesterol in the arteries. Not just that, but it also protects a person against stroke and heart attack.

2. LDL (low-density lipoprotein) – referred to as “bad cholesterol” this is what causes high levels of cholesterol.

With this in mind, let’s jump into the relationship between dementia and cholesterol.

Health experts agree that watching cholesterol levels can help keep Alzheimer’s disease at bay which is one of the most common dementia types.

It can also help prevent the development of vascular dementia which is one of the most common types of dementia.

Below we will expound more on how lowering cholesterol may be instrumental in starving off dementia.

Studies on How High Levels of Cholesterol can Increase Dementia Risk

studies on how high levels of cholesterol can increase dementia risk
One of the factors that can increase a person’s risk of developing dementia is high cholesterol.

A neurology study borrowing insights from Niemann Pick-C disease and Down’s syndrome stated that high cholesterol disrupts the process of cell division.

Dr. Kensuke Sasaki one of the authors of this study said that his team of researchers discovered that high levels of cholesterol were related to brain plaques that are markers for Alzheimer’s disease.

Kensuke is a researcher at Kyushu University in Japan.

Together with his team of professionals, they tested cholesterol levels for about 2600 people aged 40-79.

At the beginning of the study, all the participants were dementia-free. The researchers then checked on the participants after 10-15 years.

They also conducted autopsies on the persons who had passed on. They found 34% of the individuals had been diagnosed with dementia.

Autopsies also revealed hallmark tangles and plaques of the illness which normally translated to protein build-up in the brain.

The study recorded that 86% of individuals with high levels of cholesterol had brain plaques.

Only 62% of the people with low cholesterol had plaques.

A similar study investigating the link between dementia and cholesterol was reported by researchers in Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Low levels of HDL can contribute to a memory decline

low levels of hdl can contribute to a memory decline
In this study, professionals observed 3,673 participants from the Whitehall II study. 26.8% of the subjects were women.

The researchers discovered that low levels of HDL cholesterol were among the major predictors of declining memory by the time a person turns 60.

The experts came to the conclusion after measuring lipid concentrations in blood samples they collected after the participants underwent an eight-hour fast.

Researchers at Emory University and the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Centre also conducted a study that found an association between early-onset Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and high LDL cholesterol levels.

This condition is considered “early-onset” when it develops before a person is 65 years.

To find out whether early-onset AD is related to cholesterol the experts sequenced various genomic regions of 2,125 participants.

Among them, 654 already had early-onset Alzheimer’s while 1,472 wee controls.

The researchers also went ahead to test blood samples from 267 subjects to determine their LDL cholesterol levels.

From the blood samples, the experts discovered that people with elevated LDL levels were more likely to develop early-onset AD when compared to persons with lower levels of cholesterol.

They published their findings in JAMA Neurology.

Contracting Studies on the Link between Risk of Dementia and Cholesterol Levels

contracting studies on the link between risk of dementia and cholesterol levels
While many studies state that high cholesterol levels can increase dementia risk, some scientists in the US dispute this.

They are on record stating that high cholesterol levels in seniors over 85 have been linked to reduced decline in thinking abilities and memory.

They published their findings in Alzheimer’s and Dementia a scientific journal.

Knowing that high levels of cholesterol were linked to cardiovascular diseases and higher dementia risk, the scientists opted to study people who are over the age of 85.

In their study, they found that the elderly who had already celebrated their 85th birthday has fewer problems with thinking and memory even though they also had higher levels of cholesterol.

Chief Scientific Officer of Alzheimer’s Research UK Dr. David Reynolds said that although most of the evidence points towards the dangers of high cholesterol levels it is not easy to pinpoint one dementia factor in the group of seniors who do not have the disease.

He continued to explain that high cholesterol levels in the participants of the study might have been linked to enhanced cognitive function because it was a reflection of the genetic makeup of individuals who live to an advanced age instead of the cholesterol levels in their blood.

There is still no evidence or suggestion from the research that people need to increase their levels of cholesterol levels to sustain a healthy brain.

Because of the results of this study, the impact of high cholesterol levels remains a controversial and intriguing subject.

Closing Remarks

Seeing that overwhelming evidence points to the association between dementia and cholesterol levels, everyone must get to know the levels of this waxy-like fatty substance in their blood.

The recommendation for adults over the age of 40 is to take a blood test once every 5 years which can help in identifying the risk.

Women who are above 50 years and men who are over 45 may need to take the tests more frequently.

For now, scientists will continue to explore the role that cholesterol has in dementia development.

Vascular Dementia Stages and Progression

vascular dementia stages

Vascular dementia is one of the most common types of dementia, and people who have this illness often have to go through several vascular dementia stages.

It is a disease that develops when the brain cells die because they are not getting enough nutrients and oxygen.

It can happen when there are impaired tiny blood vessels in the brain or after a person has gone through a major stroke or even a series of smaller strokes.

Because the condition does not have a cure yet, it progresses from a mild case to a severe one. Note that these stages will differ from one person to the next.

This is simply because this type of dementia is typically brought about by different conditions.

One person may experience vascular dementia following a stroke.

However, another may get it after the inner parts of the brain get damaged for one reason or another. Just like other forms of dementia, vascular dementia also tends to progress in gradual stages. This, however, happens in a more step-like manner.

Check out how the illness may affect an individual over time describing what happens during the three major vascular dementia stages below.

Vascular Dementia Stages

1st Stage

first stage of vascular dementia
At the onset of vascular dementia, things are usually not too serious. Many individuals during this first stage can go about their daily lives without any interference.

This is because the symptoms are still somewhat stable; thus, manageable.

Most of the time, it is difficult to tell whether a person has vascular dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Some people may even have what is known as mixed dementia, where one has both Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Some people may experience things like impaired memory (general forgetfulness), challenges finding the right words, and difficulty with planning, organizing, and carrying out several tasks in an efficient manner during the first stages of this illness.

A small percentage of individuals with vascular dementia will also go through a slight decline in walking and balance. The condition at this point may also affect thinking and decision making.

At this stage, a majority of people can live alone, but it is recommended that their loved ones always check on them often.

This helps to make sure that everything is in place and that the individuals are not a danger to themselves or any other people around them.

At times, small home modifications may also come in handy to create a more supportive and comfortable environment for individuals with vascular dementia.

2nd Stage

stages of vascular dementia
After a person has gone through the initial vascular dementia stages, it may reach a point where the symptoms are no longer stable.

Things become worse where you might find that the affected person now has a different personality.

Depending on the cause of this dementia, many people will start going through anxiety, depression and have mood swings.

This usually occurs because a person is more aware of the changes that are happening to their bodies. Some people will become overly emotional and a majority are prone to apathy.

Other behavioral changes may include increased agitation and irritability.

Increased agitation and irritability

There may also be sessions where they are certain outbursts where a person can either cry or laugh inappropriately.

Hallucinations and delusions may also be part of the equation.

In severe cases, a percentage of individuals who have vascular dementia will also experience epilepsy episodes. Loss of social skills is also common at this stage.

You may find that a person who has the disease no longer wants to be a part of the social circles they were in before. They may not want to talk to the people they love.

You may notice that they want to spend more time indoors as a means of shutting out the world.

Most of the time, this usually comes about because a person is embarrassed about what they are going through seeing that they are no longer in complete control of their lives.

Several physical signs may also be prevalent during the middle stages of vascular dementia.

This is where a person may experience loss of bowel or bladder control. Some may also experience dizziness and tremors often.

Caregivers may also notice that the persons under their care are experiencing arm and leg weakness and maybe moving around with shuffling rapid steps.

Language and speech problems

If a person was speaking well in the past, slurred speech and other language problems might also start to show up.

Individuals with this illness should also get close monitoring when they are on the move. That’s because they tend to get lost even when they are in familiar surroundings.

Doing things like paying bills handling money or engaging in their favorite hobby becomes challenging, which can prove to be quite frustrating to the ill individual.

It’s not uncommon for a person with the illness to have difficulties sleeping during this phase.

Some individuals also display repetitive, obsessive or even impulsive behavior.

If a person is staying alone at this point, it would be best to make different housing arrangements.

They can move in with relatives who will act as caregivers and also keep an eye on the persons with the illness to prevent avoidable accidents.

If this is not possible, the family might have to look into senior care facilities where persons with vascular dementia will get professional care.

This is simply because a person at this point may need support with multiple day-to-day activities.

These may include showering, walking, dressing, eating, cooking, and using the restroom, among others.

3rd Stage

vascular dementia stages
You can consider this one of the final vascular dementia stages. The symptoms that persons experience at this stage are normally severe.

These can be distressing to the weak person.

If one gets vascular dementia after suffering a stroke, the aftermath can bring out physical symptoms.

They can experience problems with speech, vision, and weakness of the limbs. These symptoms will surface if the stroke caused damage to certain parts of the brain.

Individuals who have vascular dementia may also experience similar symptoms to the people who are in their last stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

It is where issues with communication, reasoning, confusion, memory loss, and disorientation become worse.

Motor challenges

A majority of people with vascular dementia also experience motor symptoms that may include unsteady or slow gait disturbance and clumsiness.

Handling daily activities becomes increasingly difficult, too.

Delusions or hallucinations that would come and go during the previous stage worsen.

At times, persons with vascular dementia may also become violent, suspicious, and demanding of people who are around them.

Many persons have a difficult time eating and swallowing. This often leads to rapid unhealthy weight loss. Some may even experience loss of speech.

Almost everyone at this point will have significant problems with both long-term and short-term memory.

As the condition becomes worse, it may affect/damage all the functions of the brain. This is also the stage where the illness deteriorates and can end up being fatal.

Some people at this stage can also go through heart attacks or a major stroke that can end their lives.

During this stage, it might be difficult for the family to render the appropriate care. Especially if they are not around their loved ones 24/7.

This calls for other measures such as hiring a professional who will move in to look after the person who has vascular dementia.

Alternatively, the individual might have to move into a senior care community.

A place that looks after people with dementia to get the kind of assistance and care they need without compromising their health.

Closing Remarks

Anyone who has vascular dementia should not think of it as a death sentence. It is still possible to live a full life even when going through the various vascular dementia stages.

Always remember that different people will experience vascular dementia differently.

While some may go through gradual changes, others will experience a decline in cognitive abilities, which is followed closely by stability periods.

This does not last because there are other step downs in abilities and then stability for a while, and so forth. This is what is called “stepwise” or “step-like progression.”

When your grandparent manages to catch vascular dementia in its early stage, he or she can come up with an effective treatment plan.

This will slow down the illness, preventing it from becoming worse at a fast rate.

Professional doctors have the know-how to identify the underlying cause of the illness.

The expert will come up with a healthy program you can use to reduce the risk of complications that may crop up in the future.

This might include a total change in lifestyle that will slow down the progression of the disease.

Most professionals will recommend that you get moving to increase your physical fitness and blood flow. Additionally, eat a balanced diet, get on a routine, and quit smoking and drinking alcohol.

On average, reports indicate that persons with vascular dementia will live for about five years after they detect the symptoms.

There are, however, many people who have lived for more than five years.

5 Types of Vascular Dementia And Symptoms

types of vascular dementia

At the time of writing this, there are several different types of vascular dementia you should be aware of.

If you are ready to learn about all different varieties of the disease, this article covers all the necessary and then some.

Note, vascular dementia occurs when one starts to experience damaging blood vessels in the brain.

This can happen for an assortment of different reasons from poor oxygen flow and lack of nutrition to infarct and other brain diseases and injuries.

Have in mind, strokes are one of the most common reasons for the development of destructive vascular dementia.

While some of the types of vascular dementia are pretty similar, they still have particular details that are exclusive to the condition.

In other words, some are more common than others and the same goes for their symptoms.

Also, each type progresses uniquely if not treated early enough.

Of course, we all need to know that so far there is still no cure for dementia. However, if we act quickly enough, we can lighten the progress of the disease and ensure a more comfortable life.

With that in mind, let’s further investigate the different variations of vascular dementia and some of the causes.

By having the right knowledge, you can seek help from a doctor or a practitioner early enough for the older adult to get appropriate treatment as soon as possible.

Different Types of Vascular Dementia

1. Multi-Infarct Dementia (MID)

multi-infarct dementia
Vascular Dementia is a broad name that describes an umbrella of signs and symptoms related to brain damage caused by cerebrovascular disease.

The condition is marked by the impairment of blood flow to the brain owing to injured or damaged cells. In turn, it also hampers oxygen flow to the brain.

The impaired blood flow affects several functions initiated by the brain including memory, reasoning, judgment, and planning.

Vascular dementia presents itself in several ways depending on the specific cause and it also affects each individual person in different ways. Multi-infarct dementia (MID) is one of the types of vascular dementia.

What Causes MID

MID comes about when the brain suffers from several minor strokes causing injuries to several areas of the brain referred to as infarcts.

The strokes also cause extensive lesions in the brain’s nerve fibers. Physicians also explain that most of these “silent strokes” go unnoticed without any clinical symptoms.

That is how they manage to cause the severe and often irreparable damage to the brain cells resulting in the MID symptoms.

Since the infarcts affect secluded brain areas, the symptoms often have an adverse effect on specific functions like language or it can attack only one side of the body.

2. Subcortical Vascular Dementia

subcortical vascular dementia
One of the other types of vascular dementia is Binswanger’s disease. For your information, many as well call this particular one subcortical vascular dementia.

It is marked by extensive damage to multiple tiny areas of the brain.

The result is an impairment in the arteries that supply blood to the brain’s subcortical regions which, in turn, diminishes blood circulation within the brain.

The more narrow the arteries get, the lesser the amount of blood that goes to the brain’s tissues, and the ultimate result is the inevitable death of the brain.

The condition could come about as a result of untreated diabetes or high blood pressure.

Symptoms of Subcortical Vascular Dementia

Notably, Binswanger’s disease is stroke-related and it presents even more impairments to the brain’s white substance as a result of the hardened arteries and several lunar infarctions.

Often, a person with this condition experiences memory difficulties and their reasoning skills deteriorate.

The condition also presents itself at the tail end of the fourth decade in life and its severity increases with age.

One of the symptoms characteristic of this type of vascular dementia is psychomotor slowness.

It presents itself with an increased length of time that a person takes to perform the simplest of tasks like writing the shape of a letter on a piece of paper.

Other symptoms include changes in speech, personality/ mood shifts, unsteady gait/clumsiness, or frequent falls.

3. Strategic Infarct Dementia

strategic-infarct dementia
A single stroke can at times lead to vascular dementia depending on stroke’s size and its origin within the body.

The type of vascular dementia that comes about from these types of strokes is known as Strategic Infarct Dementia.

It occurs after the destruction of a significant cognitive process by an infarct in a specific area of the brain.

It is associated with the sudden onset of behavioral changes that take place after the stroke. Its symptoms depend on the function of the brain that the stroke damages.

If there are no subsequent series of strokes symptoms like impaired memory and decreased attention can often go unnoticed. Otherwise, the chances of the symptoms becoming worse are quite high.

Symptoms Associated With Strategic Infarct Dementia

Someone with Strategic Infarct Dementia often starts by presenting acute symptoms including fluctuating alertness and attentiveness.

Memory loss, psychomotor retardation and apathy are also some of the primary symptoms which suggest frontal lobe dysfunction.

When the stroke damages the left-sided infarcts it results in verbal memory loss while damages to the right-sided infarcts cause problems with visuospatial memory.

A state of altered consciousness also results in a lack of motivation as well as severe personality changes.

People who experience thalamic infarcts and hemorrhages might also experience motor aphasia and transcortical sensory issues.

4. Stroke-related Dementia

stroke-related dementia
Note, many also use Cerebrovascular accident (CVA) when talking about this type of vascular dementia.

It affects the blood vessels within the brain as well as those in close proximity to it. This condition comes about when an artery feeding the brain with blood raptures.

It also comes about when part of the brain is deprived of enough blood affecting its normal functioning (termed ischemia) leading to the death of the cells (infarction).

Ischemia, which is also known as atherosclerosis, occurs when arteries supplying blood to the brain are narrow as a result of plaque, a fatty deposit.

These fatty deposits can rupture forming a blood clot that together can travel to arteries in the brain and block the vessels causing a stroke.

Symptoms Of Stroke-related Dementia

The symptoms that come about after a stroke leading to dementia vary based on the part of the brain that is affected.

The most common symptoms of stroke-related dementia include paralysis or weakness experienced on either side of the body. It can lead to the complete or partial loss of sensations or voluntary movements related to the arms or legs.

Also, it can cause speech problems owing to weakened face muscles, and drooling is often a symptom too.

When a stroke hits the base of the brain it affects functions like balance, consciousness, swallowing, and even breathing.

Strokes are a medical emergency and it’s important to seek medical assistance when you suspect someone is having a stroke.

5. Post-Stroke Dementia

types of vascular dementia post-stroke dementia
Another common vascular dementia type is Post-stroke Dementia (PSD) that often occurs after suffering from a stroke. It uniquely comprises of the symptoms associated with other types of dementia collectively.

It could be degenerative dementia Alzheimer’s disease or a mix of both. At this point, cognitive abilities usually deteriorate, unlike the temporary physical disability symptoms experience post strokes.

Since the vascular system in the brain is damaged due to an insufficient supply of oxygen and nutrients, a person with vascular dementia often exhibits depression with rapid mood fluctuations.

Post-stroke cognitive damage may also affect a large number of stroke survivors. People with pre-stroke cognitive decline have a high risk of also developing PSD.

Is Dementia Hereditary? Let’s Find Out Now

is dementia hereditary

There is one question that is of concern for family members of an individual who has dementia: is dementia hereditary?

There are two answers to this query and, sadly, it is both a yes and a no.

The majority of dementias are not passed down by family.

There are, however, some rare cases where there may be a strong genetic link that could see children and grandchildren inherit the condition.

Nonetheless, this is only a small proportion of the overall dementia cases.

It is vital to note that genes are basic heredity units that pass on characteristics like height, hair color, or the tendency to develop a certain disease.

We find them in chromosomes and can contain mutations or changes which can be beneficial or harmful.

Does dementia run in families?

To date, researchers still do not have adequate details about the human genes that are associated with dementia.

While several genes may lead to different forms of dementia, mostly the illness does not develop because of changes to a specific gene.

Dementia genetics are quite complex, with several other factors weighing in.

This aside, let’s look at some of the reasons why most people do not inherit dementia.

Risk Factors

risk factors
One of the top risk factors for dementia is age.

The disease is common in seniors who are above the age of seventy, although some people experience it when they are younger.

You may be relieved to learn that having grandparents or parents with dementia at this age (70+) does not necessarily mean that you will also end up with the condition when you are older.

Your risk of getting the disease remains the same as the rest of the population.

On the flip side, studies show that if your loved one has dementia when they are younger, say less than sixty years, there is a higher chance that this type of illness passes on.

This goes to show that while genetics may be a risk factor, it is certainly not the only one.

Other risk factors that contribute to the development of dementia include:

Now check out some of the factors that could increase your chances of ending up with dementia because it is in your family line.

These support the yes part of the answer when you ask if dementia is hereditary.

Underlying Health Issues

underlying health issues
There are some scenarios where dementia will not be inherited. But, there are some health issues that, at times, crop up because of this condition.

These may include conditions like diabetes, heart diseases, high blood pressure, or stroke. Such illnesses can pass from one generation to the next.

Note that such diseases are also considered risk factors for illnesses such as dementia.

This simply means that when a person has one or more of the aforementioned diseases, they may also end up with dementia when they get older.

Specific Genes

specific genes
When looking at the cases of inherited dementia, you may notice that only 1% of the cases are passed on from parents.

Another aspect that may increase your chances of getting the disease simply because your parents also have dementia is the types of genes that your parents give you.

It is not the dementia gene but others that increase the risk of you getting the illness.

These types of genes that can give you dementia are typically the same ones that increase the risk of stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.

It is one of the reasons it is essential to stay physically active and eat well. This can reduce the risk of developing certain types of dementia, such as vascular dementia.

Scientifically, two types of genes can affect whether a person ends up inheriting a disorder or disease. These are:

1. Risk Genes – These are the genes that you carry putting you at risk of developing a particular disease. You should also know that with the gene in your body, it does not mean you will end up with the illness.

2. Deterministic Genes – These are the genes that are responsible for causing the onset of disorders and diseases. They are quite rare and have been linked directly to the development of dementia in adults.

Genes are a broad topic for anyone who is interested in finding out the answers to is dementia hereditary.

Below is a summary of some of the genes that researchers claim are associated with the development of dementia in different stages:

1. Mutations in APP (A4 protein precursor), PSEN2 (presenilin2), and PSEN1 (presenilin1)

These genes are responsible for producing abnormal protein amounts that can trigger damage in the brain, which links to the onset of early dementia.

2. Variations in the ApoE4 gene

Also known as the apolipoprotein E, this offers instructions for protein production as well as aids in the transportation of cholesterol through the bloodstream.

About a quarter of the population that has one copy of the gene of a variation of ApoE has been known to have a higher risk of getting dementia.

Even though they do not directly cause the disease, they can contribute to some of the brain changes that result in cognitive decline.

Many people with ApoE4 also experience faster loss of nerve cell functioning.

This happens at the frontal lobe, which is crucial when it comes to maintaining mental functioning.

Studies also conclude that individuals who have the ApoE4 gene usually grow older at a faster rate. This acceleration can enhance the chances of dementia becoming worse over time.

There is also evidence that people who have two copies of ApoE4 have a much higher risk of developing dementia than the people who only have a single copy.

3.CDC2 gene

Cell division of the cycle 2 gene (CDC2) associates with the production of more tau protein This controls the deposit, gathering, and degradation of several proteins that relate to different types of dementia.

4. SORL1 gene

There is a high chance that the sortilin related receptor may play a role in the uncharacteristic production of beta-amyloid plaque in the brains of individuals who experience the late onset of dementia.

Rare Types of Dementia

rare types of dementia
There are some unusual types of dementia that parents can pass down to their young ones.

It mainly happens when a person develops the illness at an early age, like in their 50s or 60s.

In the majority of these cases, there is a high chance that a faulty gene was passed down to the children from their parents. This is also the case when an individual ends up developing dementia in their 30s or 40s.

Generally, while a high percentage of people will not pass dementia to their kids, they can pass faulty genes that will be the cause of the disease in younger individuals.

Examples of the rare dementia types that parents pass on to their offspring include Familial Prion Disease and Huntington’s disease.

Such disorders present a 50/50 chance of being inherited because they are brought about by a faulty “dormant” gene.

What this means is that if you get one faulty gene from one parent and another healthy one from the other parent, the faulty one is the one that the body will use.

This is because the body sees it as the “dominant” gene.

If your doctor suspects that family history has anything to do with your condition, he or she may recommend genetic testing.

Relatives at this point may also have to go through genetic testing.

When the results are out, genetic counseling is normally offered to all the persons who carry the illness-related changes.

Inheritance Pattern

inheritance pattern
If you are asking if dementia is hereditary, it helps to look into the inheritance pattern of the disease.

When people develop the illness at an early stage, that is before celebrating their 70th birthday, the link to an autosomal dominant pattern is not unusual.

This simply means that a single copy of an altered gene is enough to cause dementia. In most cases, the affected individual gets this gene from one of their parents.

It is still not clear what the inheritance pattern for late-onset dementia is. Persons who inherit just one copy of the ApoE4 allele are usually at higher risk of developing the condition.

The risk is even greater for the individuals who have two copies of the same.

Astonishingly, it is not everyone who has this gene that will end up with dementia. Similarly, not everyone who has dementia has the E4 allele.

Closing Remarks

As seen above, genetics do not play a major role when it comes to the development of dementia.

That said, there are specific forms that you can inherit from your parents.

However, these mostly have to do with developing the disease when you are younger. It is evident that there is no one answer to the query; is dementia hereditary?

Even though it may not be possible to control genes, there are other factors you can control to help reduce the risk.

It includes things such as eating a balanced diet, staying active, not smoking and managing other health conditions, like diabetes.

Is Vascular Dementia Hereditary?

is vascular dementia hereditary

One of the questions that many people have about vascular dementia has got to be is vascular dementia hereditary?

Before going ahead to answer this, it is important to note that vascular dementia is the 2nd most common dementia type.

It develops when there is an inadequate flow of blood to the brain which damages and kills brain cells.

This is normally due to a stroke that suddenly cuts the blood supply to the brain, many “mini-strokes,” and narrowing of small blood vessels in the brain.

Other risk factors of the illness include obesity, diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, high levels of cholesterol, increasing age, and abnormal heart rhythm.

From here, get to learn the role of genes in the human body, as well as essential factors that touch on genetics and vascular dementia below.

Role of Genes

role of genes
It is also crucial to highlight the roles that genes play when seeking to answer the query is vascular dementia hereditary?

Genes are found in chromosomes, which is the genetic material that children inherit from their parents.

Females have 22 pairs of chromosomes as well as two X chromosomes. Males also have 22 pairs of chromosomes and an additional Y and X chromosome.

Each chromosome has thousands of genes. Genes are the basic heredity units that pass on characteristics like height, hair color, or the tendency to develop certain diseases.

Humans have two copies of every gene one that they inherit from the father and the other from the mother.

Genes can go through mutations that can either be beneficial or harmful. Mutations happen when a gene permanently changes from its normal form.

When it comes to diseases, a gene can either be causative or a risk-factor gene. When the gene is causative, it means that a person will inherit a gene for a specific disease and without a doubt, they will develop the illness.

The risk-factor genes do not lead to a person developing an illness.

Nonetheless, the risk associated with a specific gene typically determines whether an individual is less or more likely to inherit an illness.

Genetics of Vascular Dementia

genetics of vascular dementia
Because vascular dementia is common, it can lead to the assumption that it is passed down from one generation to another. This is not the case because not many people inherit the disease from their parents or grandparents.

Although vascular dementia is not commonly passed down through families, there are certain instances when genetics can increase the risk of developing the disease.

This has a lot to do with the underlying health issues that contribute to the development of vascular dementia. For instance, your chances of getting strokes are higher if a close family member has them.

Strokes are one of the major causes of vascular dementia.

Health issues can contribute to the development of vascular dementia

Conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure may be passed from one generation to the next. These can also contribute to the development of the illness.

This is because the type of genes that increase vascular dementia risk is, in most cases, the ones that increase the risk of diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

This goes to show that leading a healthy lifestyle like staying physically active and eating well is vital for keeping vascular dementia at bay.

This said, there is still not much information about the genetic basis of vascular dementia even though it is one of the most common dementia forms.

Scientists have acknowledged that the modification of various lifestyle and physiological risk factors, as well as comorbidities, can increase the risk of vascular dementia.

Comorbidities are the extra conditions that co-occur with a primary condition. To date, the genetic component of the illness is still not well understood.

To answer the question is vascular dementia hereditary, experts state that gene mutations are only responsible for rare forms of vascular dementia.

Gene mutations occur in rare forms of vascular dementia

According to a report by “Genetics of Vascular Dementia” Working Group, there has been one study in 24 twins that has tried to look into vascular dementia heritability intimately.

This, however, failed to identify a noteworthy genetic component. This led to the general interpretation that the environment plays a bigger role in the development of vascular dementia when compared to genetics.

vascular dementia genes

Conversely, there is some evidence that the illness may have a significant genetic component.

This has led to the conclusion that vascular dementia’s genetic background remains well established for monogenic disorders.

Monogenic illnesses are Mendelian disorders, where modifications in one gene are implicated in the disease process. These usually showcase inheritance patterns like dominant, additive, or recessive genetic models.

Evidence has been brought forth that the dysfunction of single genes causes vascular dementia. This can also help to answer the query be is vascular dementia hereditary.

Vascular dementia is hereditary but at the same time, it is not

One of the disorders is cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with leukoencephalopathy and subcortical infarcts. It is one of the most common heritable cause of vascular dementia.

It comes about from the mutations of a gene known as NOTCH3. Some of the manifestations of the mutation include seizures, migraine headaches, mood disorders, and cognitive impairment.

Another example of a monogenic ailment is Fabry disease. This is as a result of the mutation of gene GLA. Symptoms that persons who have this disease showcase include renal disease, cardiomyopathy, and stroke.

Experts believe that the single gene ailments above only account for a small percentage of vascular dementia cases. There is a possibility that their occurrence is taken lightly. There is a need for systematic studies on these disorders. After all, they can play a vital role in understanding vascular dementia.

Closing Thoughts

The answer to the query is vascular dementia hereditary is both yes and no. As seen above even though in most cases, vascular dementia is not linked to genetics, some genetic factors can increase the risk of developing the illness.

Vascular Dementia Treatment and Support

vascular dementia treatment

It is important to understand what are the most beneficial vascular dementia treatment techniques and support since you can truly alleviate the condition.

Vascular dementia is a general term that represents one of the most common types of dementia. It occurs when the brain does not receive enough blood supply because of blood vessels that have been affected by the disease.

An illness that mostly affects seniors, it is said that one of out of four people above the age of 65 will get vascular dementia.

Unfortunately, there are still no approved pharmacological treatments available for anyone with this type of dementia.

This is not to say that individuals with the disease are usually left alone unattended.

There are several measures individuals with the illness and caregivers can take to manage the risk factors and health conditions that contribute to vascular dementia such as:

Best Vascular Dementia Treatments

Making Lifestyle Changes

making lifestyle changes
The primary aim of vascular dementia treatment is to take care of any underlying causes that are making the condition to worsen.

One of the top things that a doctor may recommend is a lifestyle change for an individual with the illness. This usually involves a number of things such as:

Making healthy lifestyle changes is key to helping you maintain a healthy body that will effectively combat a majority of the health issues that are associated with vascular dementia.

Therapies

therapies
There are different types of therapies that may be beneficial to a person who has vascular dementia.

These help to make day to day living a bit easier. Examples of such include:

  • Psychological therapies – These help to enhance problem-solving skills, memory, and language abilities.
  • Occupational therapy – Experts who facilitate this type of therapy usually identify the problem areas that individuals with vascular dementia face on a daily basis. It can include anything from dressing up properly to eating. The experts then offer practical solutions to tackle the problems amicably.
  • Physiotherapy – This typically helps the persons who have difficulties with movement.

Medication

medication
It’s also common for people with vascular dementia to take meds as part of vascular dementia treatment.

These do not take care of the condition but help treat some of the medical issues that individuals with the illness usually get.

Some of the most common medications that medics prescribe help to treat diseases like:

Anyone who is taking different types of medicines needs to communicate this clearly to their physician.

This way, the professionals will know the drugs to add or eliminate so that there is no interaction that will hurt the person with vascular dementia.

Managing Stress

managing stress
Many people with vascular dementia go through stress for one reason or the other. Being stressed does not help at all because stress also contributes to other medical conditions like heart diseases and blood pressure.

You need to find ways to relax so that you can manage stress to avoid going through other medical issues because of stress.

There are a number of relaxation techniques you can try when you feel like things are getting out of hand. These include:

  • Yoga
  • Deep breathing
  • Meditation
  • Rhythmic exercise

You can also engage one or more of your senses i.e. taste, sound, sight, touch, smell, or even imagination to reduce stress at a given moment fast.

Engaging the Brain

engaging the brain
Another option available for a person seeking vascular dementia treatment is challenging the brain. Understand that the brain remains capable for the entire lifetime of a person.

This simply means that a person can enhance the ability to retrieve and even retain memories. It’s advisable that a person with this kind of dementia sets some time either in the morning or in the evening to build memory capacity.

Activities that may help with this include learning new skills such as painting, a new language or anything else that interests an individual.

If you do this consistently, you will notice beautiful results after some time.

Having Fun

having fun
After a vascular dementia diagnosis, you may feel the need to sulk and get lost in a world of your own. It is important to fight this urge because it will do you no good.

After getting over the initial shock, it is vital to note that life must move on. If you do not want the disease to progress at a speedy rate, you must make a point of having some fun.

Playing, laughing, and doing things that you enjoy doing are excellent ways to reduce worry and the monster that is stress.

Happiness can be a game-changer inspiring lifestyle changes and may compensate for cognitive and memory losses as well as stop further strokes.

Join a Support System

join a support system
It may be a relief to know that you are not the only person with vascular dementia. You can join forces with other people out there who share the same predicament.

It can help to make the burden even lighter as you interact with other people. Share your experiences as you tackle the journey ahead. Being in a group is therapeutic because you can also learn new ways of managing the condition.

You can look for a support group easily online to find the ones that are closest to you.

This way, you do not have to think about the troubles of traveling just to be with other people who share the same illness.

Create a Personal Support Network

create a personal support network
Support groups are not all about people who share the same illness. You can also seek encouragement and assistance from other people such as:

  • Friends
  • Family
  • Church members
  • Colleagues
  • Neighbors
  • A spouse
  • Health care experts, etc.

If you are still not at the stage when you need round the clock assistance, spending time with other people that you love or care about can help you better cope with your condition.

Relying on one person may not really work out well especially if they are not professional caregivers.

This is why it helps to have more than one person to lean on. It even makes the other party more willing to spend time with you and offer the assistance you need.

Managing Memory Loss

managing memory loss
Learning how to manage the symptoms of vascular dementia goes a long way as part of vascular dementia treatment.

One of the most significant symptoms has got to be memory loss. You must learn practical ways to manage this loss while staying as realistic and optimistic as possible.

While it may not be possible to bring back everything you have lost, it can still help to make a difficult situation more bearable.

Things you can do to help with memory loss include:

  • Using memory aids
  • Following regular routines
  • Clearly communicating your needs
  • Maintaining social activity
  • Being upfront about your current condition
  • Being patient with yourself
  • Accepting help when other people offer

Home Modifications

home modifications
If a person with vascular dementia will be staying at home, it is best to create a stable and supportive environment where they will thrive without too many problems.

Modifying the home is one of the steps that help to reduce any potential stressors that may disorient or agitate the individual with dementia. Some of the things to remove from the house are mirrors that reflect other surfaces.

Also, items that can cause loud and identifiable noises, patterned wallpaper, and colors that contrast highly. If an individual has problems with moving around, they can transfer to the ground floor.

This way, that they are not always tasked with the responsibility of moving from one level to another.

Being Part of a Clinical Trial

being part of a clinical trial
The fact that there is still no definite vascular dementia treatment does not mean that researchers and other professionals are not out there trying.

If you are willing, you can become part of a clinical trial that is testing new interventions and treatments to help detect, prevent, manage, or treat the disease.

This, however, requires a lot of due diligence on your end. You must get all the information you need about a particular trial before deciding to be a part of anything.

Seek advice from your doctor on whether a specific study will be beneficial. Your loved ones can also help you make a wise decision about these clinical trials.

Nursing Home Care

nursing home care
Home care for some people who have vascular dementia may not be viable after a while. This means that you should look into nursing homes or any other types of care homes that will be able to accord the type of assistance you need.

Although it may be a hard decision to make at times, there are several good things to look forward to in such homes as:

  • Around the clock care.
  • Assurance that the individual with the condition is somewhere safe.
  • Interaction and social activities with other residents, and much more.

Be sure to do your homework well to find a suitable care home that will meet the needs of the individual with the illness well.

Lower blood pressure

lower blood pressure
Keeping your body healthy and fit is crucial when it comes to vascular dementia. That said, even when it comes to blood pressure, you need to keep it low.

Or, if you are a caregiver or a family member of a patient with dementia, you need to do whatever it takes to get the blood pressure down.

There are tons of different ways that help lover it. From increasing daily activities and losing weight to removing refined carbohydrates from the diet, eating less sodium and staying away from processed food.

Stop drinking alcohol and smoking is also a must. As mentioned earlier, reducing excess stress will also do you and the patient with dementia nothing but good.

A few extra options:

Final Thoughts

Even though there is still no sure vascular dementia treatment, controlling the conditions that are associated with the illness can slow down the rate at which the condition worsens. At times, it may even prevent further decline.

People with the illness, as well as their caregivers, need to put their best foot forward to ensure that the individual ends up living a good life in spite of what is going on.

Vascular Dementia Prognosis and Progression

vascular dementia prognosis

This extensive overview of vascular dementia prognosis and progression gives you a better understanding of the development of the disease during the early, middle and late stages.

Vascular dementia is a condition that occurs when a particular part of your brain does not get enough nutrients and blood.

Also known as multi-infarct dementia, studies show that it has quickly risen to become the second most common cause of dementia in golden-agers.

Contributing factors

Several factors contribute to vascular dementia prognosis, such as:

  • Ruptured blood vessels that cause bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • The aftermath of a series of small strokes or a major stroke
  • Damage to the blood vessels from infections, autoimmune disorders, and atherosclerosis
  • Other causes

These usually lead to interruptions or decreased blood flow to the brain.

Brain cells need a constant supply of blood that transports nutrients and oxygen to function correctly and remain healthy.

A network of vessels known as the vascular system delivers blood to the brain. When the system does not work correctly, the blood vessels may become blocked or leak.

When this happens, blood does not reach the brain cells and if this happens continuously, the cells eventually die.

Death of brain cells comes with numerous health complications. Some of them include issues with reasoning, memory, and thinking. The three elements combined are known as cognition.

Vascular dementia is one of the most wide-spread

When these cognitive problems affect a person’s daily life, it is a strong indication that they have vascular dementia.

Diagnosis of vascular dementia is sometimes difficult.

This is because there are no tests that show that an individual has the disease. Doctors will, however, study the symptoms that a person is displaying to confirm whether they have the condition or not.

The medical experts must first rule out any illnesses that have the same symptoms, such as depression or Alzheimer’s disease.

Thyroid and vitamin deficiencies, side effects of medications, or an array of infections may also cause symptoms.

Always take care of nutrients and proper brain blood flow

Now that you are aware of the likely causes of vascular dementia, let’s take a look at how the disease progresses.

Note that there is still no cure for people with this illness.

When caught early, doctors can recommend various treatment options that may see the disease progress slowly to maximize the independence of an individual with the condition.

Although the disease progresses differently for different people depending on the underlying cause, genetics, age, and overall health, it can be divided into three stages that we will discuss below.

Vascular dementia prognosis in different stages

Stage 1: Early Stage of Vascular Dementia

early stage of vascular dementia
During the initial stages of vascular dementia, regardless of the prognosis, a person is still able to function independently. In fact, most people may mistake the symptoms of this type of dementia to be those of normal aging.

For example, older people are known to experience slight lapses in memory, such as forgetting where they place things or have challenges finding the right words to complete a sentence.

During this stage, a person may continue working if they are employed or running a business without too much difficulty.

Many maintain a healthy social life and do not need much assistance with their day to day activities.

On average, the stage lasts anywhere from two-four years though it may be more or less for some people.

Symptoms

Some of the early symptoms that an individual may experience include:

  • Difficulties with planning,
  • Problems with focusing/concentration,
  • Slowness of thought,
  • Challenges grasping new concepts,
  • Behavioral or mood changes,
  • Slight issues with language and memory, etc.

Most people will not go to the hospital because the above symptoms are barely noticeable. This is not to say that a person is not aware that things are not the way they were before.

For your information, it is vital to get immediate medical attention when you notice that something is amiss. This is because the symptoms are an indication that there is a presence of brain damage that requires treatment.

During the initial stages, a person with vascular dementia may also be unusually emotional and prone to apathy.

A high percentage of people also have depression and anxiety, especially when they first learn about what is going on in their lives.

When this type of dementia comes about after stroke, a person may experience physical symptoms like problems with speech or vision and weakness of the limbs.

Rehabilitation can help such symptoms to improve or stabilize over time.

Stage 2: Middle Stage Vascular Dementia

middle stage vascular dementia
With vascular dementia, the disease usually becomes worse after some time, particularly with the lack of proper treatment.

After finding out the possible vascular dementia prognosis and going through the initial stages of the disease, a person then moves on to the next phase of the illness.

At this stage, the symptoms that you experienced during the initial malady start to become more intense.

You might even find that you need more assistance with your day to day life because your level of independence starts to decline.

With most people, getting help from family and friends is still sufficient at this point without the need for professional home care. For some, it may be time to step down from responsible duties at the workplace.

Help is necessary for more daily tasks

Problems with communication, disorientation, confusion, reasoning, and memory loss escalate in a way that a person is not able to be as productive as they are supposed to be.

Many can handle a few house chores here and there, but may still need some support with a few areas in their lives.

Most of the time, individuals at this stage cannot fully complete jobs. You may find that something as simple as counting from one to ten becomes an uphill task for most.

Most individuals with vascular dementia will start pulling away from social life, knowing that the symptoms are becoming more visible at this stage.

Loved ones or caregivers may discover that a person is no longer interested in doing the things that they used to love. Most of the time, it is not because they no longer have an interest. It is because they fear embarrassment since they cannot enjoy the activities in the same way they did before.

It is also common for persons in the middle stage of the illness to experience paranoia, fear, and confusion. Some people even go through changes in sleep patterns.

There have been cases of people who experience seasons of decline in cognitive abilities; then a period of stability followed by another step down in regards to cognitive skills, then stability, etc.

This is known as the “stepwise” or “step-like progression” pattern.

Stage 3: Final/Last Stage of Vascular Dementia

final last stage of vascular dementia
When a person who has vascular dementia continues to age, vascular dementia prognosis becomes more severe as the individual waits for their final resting day.

This stage is usually quite severe to the extent that most people cannot survive on their own.

They typically require constant care from expert caregivers.

An individual can either get this at home or move into a facility that specifically takes care of residents who have vascular or other types of dementia.

Unfortunately, a person predominantly experiences negative effects in different areas of their life. This can include:

  • Significant issues with communication to the point that a person only uses expressions or words. Some may not be able to communicate anymore verbally.
  • Memory becomes worse. An individual may not recall what you have just told them or even recognize people that they love.
  • Some people with the illness may become bedridden where they are not able to walk requiring extensive assistance to move from one point to another.
  • Feeding and swallowing may also become a big issue for people who are in their last stages of vascular dementia.
  • People with the illness tend not to have any judgment or even proper problem-solving skills.
  • Most individuals in this final stage cannot be part of community affairs that are outside their care home.
  • Many will also require assistance with bathroom issues because they are often incontinent.
  • Severe vascular dementia can also cause abnormal reflexes and muscle rigidity. Persons with the illness are also more prone to infections like pneumonia.

Closing Remarks


When it comes to vascular dementia prognosis, it helps to note that the symptoms of the disease usually get worse over time.

It is something that can happen in sudden steps or gradually every few months or years. Knowing the stages that people go through is vital to understand how to take care of yourself or your loved ones.

Worth noting is that everyone has a unique experience when dealing with the illness.

It is essential to seek medical advice from a professional as soon as you suspect the early symptoms of vascular dementia. The doctor will put you on a treatment regimen that may slow down the progression or prevent it from getting worse.

Researchers also agree that taking good care of the brain and the heart when you have this type of dementia can help slow down progression.

This includes things like exercising regularly, maintaining healthy blood pressure, eating healthy foods and drinks, and not smoking and drinking alcohol.

Even though the brain can repair itself to a certain level, the condition can still shorten a person’s lifespan.

This may be even shorter if a person has another heart attack or stroke that causes additional brain damage. The seriousness of this disease affects a person’s prognosis.

14 Typical Vascular Dementia Symptoms 2021

14 Typical Vascular Dementia Symptoms 2021

You should be aware of the most common vascular dementia symptoms as it is one of the most widespread. In this day and age, there are hundreds of thousands of people all around the globe that suffer from the condition.

According to the statistics, the number keeps on rising with each passing year. It is expected to be in multiple millions not that many years from now.

While, at the time of writing this, we cannot prevent dementia (any type), we need to be familiar with its symptoms. Only then, we can act accordingly and help ease the disease.

Let’s find out more about the symptoms of vascular dementia.

What is vascular dementia and its symptoms

In short, vascular dementia is when the brain lacks blood flow. In other words, brain cells do not receive enough blood on what damages and even kills them.

Even the smallest brain injury due to poor blood flow can affect the overall condition of a human being significantly.

When the brain lacks blood flow consistently, the effects may cause the development of vascular dementia. One of the most common causes is a stroke.

Bear in mind, although vascular dementia is the second most regular, it is considered underdiagnosed.

That said, today, we will look at the most common vascular dementia symptoms which will give you a better understanding of the disease.

Vascular Dementia Symptoms

1. Sudden and Frequent Headaches

sudden and frequent headaches
Based on the underlying cause and also each individual case from one person to the next, vascular dementia symptoms vary significantly.

However, experiencing sudden and frequent headaches is amongst the earliest signs that someone is suffering from the condition. Headaches can strike any (random) time, meaning, they appear unexpectedly.

When experienced frequently following a medical event like suffering from a stroke is highly likely to have a connection with the onset of vascular dementia.

Vascular dementia comes about when there is inadequate blood flow going to the brain. It could also be the result of damaged blood vessels in the brain and these initial changes manifest as headaches.

2. Confusion

confusion
In essence, Vascular dementia collectively describes reasoning, judgment, memory, and planning problems associated with changes in blood flow supply to the brain.

Confusion is amongst the first of the cognitive symptoms that we associate with the condition. Worth noting is that the symptoms also vary depending on the part of the brain that is suffering from impaired blood flow.

Most of the symptoms are similar to those experienced with other types of dementia particularly Alzheimer’s disease. The weakness to think clearly or suffering from a sense of present awareness accompanies several conditions including vascular dementia.

It marks an inability to process thoughts in a linear way as well as the inability to recall information.

3. Trouble Concentrating

trouble concentrating
A person who has vascular dementia often starts having problems with finishing tasks to their completion. They could start an activity like cooking a meal and find it difficult to follow the recipe causing them to abandon the task eventually.

It is accompanied by a loss of alertness affecting the ability to start even the simplest of tasks. Everyone does suffer from troubles with concentrating now and then.

However, when it comes to vascular dementia the problem is more pronounced and it affects every facet of life. The worsened state also has an impact on a person’s ability to learn new skills or internalize information.

4. Disorientation

disorientation
Disorientation is also one of the vascular dementia symptoms that are common to several other conditions. It affects the sense of direction and may fall on the mild to severe range.

Once again based on an individual’s particular state in terms of the progression of dementia. Also worth putting down is that vascular dementia worsens over time. Meaning, if not diagnosed early enough, it is virtually untreatable.

Also, a majority of these physical symptoms often strike at the same time.

For example, the person might experience sudden headaches followed by confusion or disorientation. The state of disorientation is also often accompanied by blurred vision.

5. Hallucinations or Delusions

hallucinations or delusions
Experiencing hallucinations are quite a common symptom by people suffering from progressive neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia.

The state of delusion leads a person with dementia to see, taste, hear, smell, or even see things that do not really exist in reality.

It also causes the person suffering from hallucinations to feel frightened, nervous and paranoid around people they do not trust.

Given that experiencing frequent hallucinations points out to an underlying cause, it can help diagnose vascular dementia when seeking medical treatment.

However, given that it is a symptom experienced with multiple other conditions including schizophrenia. It might sometimes lead to a misdiagnosis.

6. Mood Regulation Problems

mood regulation problems
Mood regulation issues are amongst the very initial vascular dementia symptoms a person can experience. When encountering multiple small strokes or other conditions that affect the brain’s blood vessels as well as nerve fibers it might lead to gradual changes in thinking.

It worsens as the damage accumulates and manifests itself through impaired judgment. That is what causes someone with the condition to laugh or cry uncontrollably entirely out of the blue.

A person with dementia might also experience a profound sense of apathy.

They show a lack of interest or enthusiasm in different situations. It may also cause the person with dementia to start behaving in a way that seems out of character or unusual.

7. Difficulty Speaking Or Understanding Speech

difficulty speaking or understanding speech
A person’s inability to express themselves fluently in social situations, as well as their ability to pay attention, might point out to the condition.

The degeneration of neurons, the brain’s cells, affects several body functions that rely on the brain for “direction.” The ability to pronoun words and maintain a normal speed when speaking is one of the challenges people with dementia face.

It is also often accompanied by a slower speed of thought which indeed affects speech processing and response in social situations.

Often, it is a problem experienced by those who have had strokes before and speech therapy works as a treatment option.

8. Memory Loss

memory loss
Memory loss is one of the vascular dementia symptoms that develop over time. The brain more or less functions as a “store.” It stores and retrieves the information to assist the functions of the body.

When paths that relay and convey the essential information is damaged it causes memory loss. This is one of the symptoms that are very much like what is experienced by someone suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

As a person with dementia suffers from severe cases of disorientation or confusion, it gravely affects their reasoning. It starts with instances of forgetting names or recent events gradually working its way up to forgetting the sequence of daily tasks.

9. Clumsiness and Unsteady Gait

clumsiness and unsteady gait
Attributing clumsiness or an unsteady gait to the condition is not very common. But the two sure are symptoms of vascular dementia.

In reality, several other factors can create an abnormality in walking because prior or underlying diseases are usually the root cause of the problem.

Damages present in the part of the nervous system tasked with controlling movement are what affect gait. It can end up resulting in a long-term problem when left untreated.

In turn, it affects the ability to perform daily tasks. It is most common in people who have subcortical vascular dementia also known as Binswanger’s Disease (BD) which affects the brain’s white matter.

10. Lack of Bowel or Bladder Control

lack of bowel or bladder control
Loss of bowel or bladder control is one of the other symptoms related to the subcortical version of the condition.

Medically referred to as incontinence, the loss of bladder control causes the unintentional passing of urine and it affects millions of people.

Often, it is attributed to aging but several other factors can contribute to developing incontinence. During the initial stages of vascular dementia, the problem is treatable through the various therapies available to people suffering from incontinence.

Treatment options include pelvic floor exercises, lifestyle changes such as cutting back on caffeine and alcohol. Additionally, severe cases require surgical intervention but there are also different incontinence products to alleviate the condition.

11. Numbness Or Paralysis

numbness or paralysis
As the condition progresses, numbness or paralysis is experienced as one of the advanced vascular dementia symptoms. It could attack the face and affect the person with dementia’s facial expressions.

The numbness or paralysis might also affect one side of the face or body, which in turn limits the person’s ability to carry out their daily tasks.

In such cases, round-the-clock assistance from a caregiver is a must to help a person with dementia to carry out their everyday tasks.

Once vascular dementia reaches the full-blown stage, treatment options are insufficient.

While Alzheimer’s drugs can offer some help initially, they only provide temporary relief without necessarily preventing the decline of memory and thinking skills.

12. Lack of Interest in Daily Activities

lack of interest in daily activities
One of the common vascular dementia symptoms is when one loses interest in daily activities. Not only that, but he or she has a problem completing mundane tasks.

What was once kids’ stuff, all of a sudden becomes a struggle.

If you notice a significant change in daily activities in your relative, observe carefully how it progresses. Bear in mind, if it is just a one-time thing, there is no need to call the doctor just yet.

However, if it keeps appearing on a regular basis, taking action is highly advisable. It is the small things and details that we should not miss when watching over an older adult before it is too late.

13. High Blood Pressure

high blood pressure
If an individual has high blood pressure, they are more likely to experience vascular dementia.

Of course, some people have high BP and never get any dementia in their lives. Dementia is a very individual type of disease, meaning, each and every single person experiences it differently.

While high blood pressure is a factor for numerous illnesses, vascular dementia is also one of them.

However, there are simple lifestyle changes one can incorporate that will contribute to better health. With that in mind, a soon as your doctor tells you you have high BP, it is important that you start incorporating a healthy lifestyle immediately.

Of course, you do not want to transition to it in a day, as it might be shocking for your body and you can do more harm than good. Slowly progress to a clean diet, exercise, fresh air, more water and similar over at least a period of a week (if not more).

14. Thinking slows

thinking slows
When the person starts to show the first signs of vascular dementia, one of them is the inability to think accurately. In other words, their thinking slows down, making them take way longer to process the information as they used to.

When it comes to words and sentences, they begin to take the time to go over them before they respond. At this time, as a caregiver or family member, you should be patient. One thing that you must not do is to start urging them to think and respond faster.

This will only irritate the person, which can lead to a fight and other inconveniences.

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