What Is Vascular Dementia?

Q:
What is vascular dementia?

A:
Vascular dementia is a group of conditions that cause a decline in cognitive skills. People with the condition have problems with reasoning, judgment, and memory. These changes can occur suddenly, or they may be mild and go unnoticed at first.

What are the symptoms?

Though symptoms vary depending on many factors, the most common symptoms of vascular dementia are:

  • confusion and memory problems
  • difficulty paying attention and focusing
  • being easily agitated or upset
  • unsteady gait
  • difficulty controlling urination or needing to urinate frequently

What are the stages?

  • The first stage–mild cognitive impairment. People are aware that their memory and mental capabilities are not what they once were. While it may be hard to diagnose vascular dementia at this stage.
  • Advanced vascular dementia. A severe stroke that leaves the brain without oxygen and blood for an extended period of time can cause dramatic changes in cognitive and physical capabilities.

What are the causes?

  • Stroke (infarction) blocking a brain artery. In fact, stroke is a common cause of vascular dementia
  • Narrowed or chronically damaged brain blood vessels

Besides, there are some risk factors:

  • Increasing age
  • History of heart attack, strokes
  • Abnormal aging of blood vessels
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Atrial fibrillation

The health of your brain’s blood vessels is closely linked to your overall heart health. So take some preventions before the early symptoms appear. If, unfortunately, you notice these symptoms, turn to a doctor as soon as possible.

 

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