Dementia is known to affectareas of the brain, resulting in the deterioration of its functions and ability. There are various symptoms involved as the disease progresses with time. These symptoms that are typically listed are considered general symptoms. This includes symptoms like memory loss, movement problems, hallucinations, and problems with speaking. This is because a collection of brain conditions that can exist in the brain simultaneously caused dementia.
One such condition is vascular dementia, which may share symptoms with other conditions like Alzheimer’s Disease. However, particular distinctions make vascular dementia different from the rest. These distinctions are important as they can help you understand what form of dementia your loved one is suffering from if you suspect that’s the case. Therefore, we will be talking about it in extensive detail. This includes looking at vascular dementia signs and symptoms and causes so you can diagnose them. This can allow you to get professional help as soon as possible, especially if the dementia symptoms have progressed.
Without any further delay, let’s get into it.
What is Vascular Dementia?
Vascular dementia refers to the conditions that can cause brain deterioration caused by damage from reduced blood flow. These conditions can cause various problems with all sorts of thought processes. Typically, vascular dementia is caused by strokes which can cause arteries to the brain to get blocked. However, this does not mean that strokes will always lead to dementia.
Additionally, other conditions can cause impaired blood flow and damage to blood cells. These conditions typically put the person at risk of strokes or heart disease, like diabetes, smoking, and high cholesterol and pressure. This means that signs of these conditions can act as signs of vascular dementia. Reducing these symptoms can reduce the risk of this dementia developing.
Vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia, about 40% of all dementia cases. It is typically rare in people that are under the age of 65. After all, older adults are at a higher risk of heart-related conditions due to tender age.
What are the symptoms of vascular dementia?
Like other brain conditions that cause dementia, the progression and effects of vascular dementia signs and symptoms will vary depending on certain factors. This includes which part of the brain is affected by restricted blood flow. However, when it comes to vascular dementia, the symptoms are generally associated with thinking and problem-solving instead of memory loss. Even then, it does share some common symptoms with other dementias like Alzheimer’s disease. The symptoms of vascular dementia are the following:
Since vascular dementia can affect the brain, it can lead to changes in mood. This is caused by a reduced ability to function in daily life. This means that doing everyday tasks can be difficult due to reduced planning, organizing, and problem-solving ability. Additionally, this can lead to problems with speaking and language, leading to frequent stuttering and slurred speech. You may find that they may even cry or laugh inappropriately.
As a result, they may isolate themselves from social situations thinking there is something wrong with them. Eventually, this can lead to them developing certain mental conditions like depression and anxiety. This can lead to further adverse effects on their mental health.
Impaired blood flow and damaged blood cells in the brain mean that the ability to think will be affected. As a result, they may have slowed thinking and confusion in their daily life. They may find that they may have difficulty collecting their thoughts and deciding what they want to do. Additionally, it can become challenging to understand and plan things out, which can be an issue when working. There can be memory problems and general forgetfulness, but not as apparent as with other conditions like Alzheimer’s.
Impaired brain function means that physical functions and abilities will also be affected. After all, there are parts of the brain responsible for the motor functions and movements of the body. As a result, there may be symptoms visible in the physical demeanor and behavior of the one affected. Here are the following physical symptoms you may likely see in someone affected by vascular dementia:
- Difficulty walking and balancing
- Weakness in legs and arms
- Unsteady gait (often with shuffling movement)
- Loss of bowel and urine control (incontinence).
What are the causes of vascular dementia?
Vascular dementia can be caused by a range of conditions that can cause damage to blood vessels in the brain. As a result, essential oxygen and nutrients to parts of the brain are cut off. These vascular dementia causes are:
Strokes can result in artery blockage, which means that blood flow is cut off. Therefore, if a stroke leads to the blockage of an artery that supplies blood to the brain, it can result in symptoms of vascular dementia. However, this does not mean that strokes will always lead to vascular dementia. Usually, the signs of vascular dementia can be seen if the patient shows symptoms after recovering from a major stroke.
These strokes are also known as silent or small strokes, but their technical term is transient ischemic attacks (TIAs). These mini-strokes can often be unnoticed, making them different from major strokes. However, sometimes they may cause brief impairments in sight and consciousness, leading to people dismissing them as headaches. They can cause partial blockages of blood supply and can occur in the brain too. However, they do not cause as much damage as major strokes do. Eventually, if a series of these small strokes happen, it can result in areas of the brain being damaged, leading to vascular dementia. Dementia caused specifically by these small strokes is referred to as multi-infarct dementia.
Brain hemorrhages refer to the bleeding inside the brain that can cause damage to blood cells. This typically occurs when high blood pressure weakens a blood vessel. It can also happen due to a build-up of protein in blood vessels due to aging. Often, these brain bleeds can be fatal, but people can survive them. However, this can damage arteries and cause blood flow to become impaired, resulting in symptoms of vascular dementia appearing.
Damaged Brain Blood Vessels
Conditions that cause damage to blood vessels or narrow them down can lead to vascular dementia. Various such conditions can cause vascular dementia. This includes:
- High Blood Pressure
- Abnormal aging of blood vessels
- Abnormalities in the brain
- Small vessel disease
- General aging symptoms
The bottom line
Dementia is a progressive disease made up of a collection of brain conditions. One such brain condition is vascular dementia, caused by impaired blood flow and damaged blood vessels. This prevents essential oxygen and nutrients from traveling to parts of the brain due to blockages in arteries or weakness in blood vessels. This results in the brain’s abilities and functions deteriorating, causing various symptoms. Certain distinctions in symptoms make it different from other dementia conditions.
Typically symptoms of vascular dementia are less memory loss related. We have discussed multiple symptoms and causes of vascular dementia above. This can ensure you can see the signs if you suspect your loved one has dementia and take action immediately. We hope this article proves insightful and helps you understand what causes this dementia. Thank you for reading!