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Vascular Dementia – Overview

November 17, 2021


A lot of people who come to me are worried about developing Alzheimer’s disease and rightfully so. Statistically speaking, it’s the most common form of dementia. But I often find it puzzling how they aren’t worried about other forms of dementia, like vascular dementia, especially since like Alzheimer’s, it’s intimately tied to the person’s lifestyle. Vascular dementia symptoms can vary depending on the part of the brain where blood flow is impaired. Symptoms often overlap with those of other types of dementia, especially Alzheimer’s disease, but unlike Alzheimer’s disease, the most significant symptoms of vascular dementia tend to involve speed of thinking and problem solving rather than memory loss. Vascular dementia signs and symptoms include confusion, trouble paying attention and concentrating, decreased ability to organize thoughts or actions, decreased ability to analyze a situation or develop an effective plan and communicate that plan, they have slowed thinking and even depression or apathy. Vascular dementia symptoms are most clear cut when they’re suddenly followed by a stroke, when changes in thinking and reasoning seem clearly linked to the stroke. This condition is sometimes called post stroke dementia. Sometimes a characteristic pattern of vascular dementia symptoms follows a series of strokes or mini strokes. Changes in thought processes occur in noticeable steps that are sort of a downgrade from the person’s previous level of functioning. Vascular dementia can also develop very gradually, just like in Alzheimer’s disease. What’s more, vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease often occur together.

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