dementia image

A – Alzheimer’s image, B – Vascular Dementia image, C – Normal image

 

Vascular Dementia is a form of Dementia and is more common that people realize. It often does not get mentioned as often as other forms of Dementia. The only more common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease (in adults). It also co-exists with another form of dementia –  Dementia with Lewy Bodies.

It can also be referred to as Multi-infarct dementia. A growing number of experts prefer the term “vascular cognitive impairment” or (VCI). It is a grouping of syndromes that cause or result in vascular lesions on the Brain.

As well, it is referred to as the decline in thinking or brain function by conditions that block blood flow to the brain. This blockage decreases ability to get nutrients, oxygen, and to get rid of waste.

Typically it is seen more often in men than women. There is also an increased risk as your age increases.

Statistically, there is a 40% chance of survival after onset of symptoms or diagnosis of 5 years or longer .

Symptoms

Remember – not everyone will have all symptoms. And some of the symptoms may point to other problems. In this case, most of symptoms are related to brain function, memory, and movement.

–  Change in memory
–  Mental impairment
–  Symptoms often are following a stoke
–  Changes in motor movement
–  Loss of desire
–  Difficulty maintaining attention on an object or conversation
–  Loss of orientation
–  Loss of bladder control
–  Changes in gait (walking)
–  Change in reflexes
–  Difficulty swallowing

Classifications

1.)  Vascular dementia due to single infarct
2.)  Multi-infarct dementia
3.)  Vascular dementia due to hemorrhagic lesions
4.)  Small vessel disease
5.)  Mixed Vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s

Potential Causes:

–  Cereborovascular disease  (Stroke)
–  Focal lesions
–  Combination of the two

Factors that may increase Risk:

1.)  Ethnicity
2.)  Previous Stroke
3.)  Age

Diagnosis

–  Mental Status Exam
–  CT
–  MRI
–  Blood work
–  X-ray

Treatment

****The goal of treatment is to decrease or prevent the addition of further lesions****

1.)  Antiplatelet medication

–  Several different treatment options

2.)  Control Hypertension

–  Several different treatment options

3.)  Control Cholesterol

–  Several different treatment options

4.)  Decrease smoking

5.)  Control or manage Diabetes

6.)  Behavior modifications

7.)  Physical therapy/Occupational therapy

8.)  Trial Medications

.  Galantamine  [not yet approved – still in testing phase]

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