Vascular dementia is dementia due to reduced blood flow to the brain. There are nearly 5.3 million people with dementia in India, and vascular dementia estimates at 40% of the count.
Dementia is when people undergo mental problems that gradually change and brain damage; it’s also rare for people under 65. Vascular dementia worsens over time, but there are possibilities to slow it down.
- Slowness of thought
- Difficulty with understanding and planning
- Concentration problems
- Personality, mood, or behavioral changes
- Difficulty keeping balance or walking
- Feeling disoriented and confused
- Alzheimer’s disease‘s symptoms (many with vascular dementia have Alzheimer’s disease)
These symptoms can make regular activities hard and eventually lead someone to be unable to look after themselves.
Vascular dementia causes
Vascular dementia is due to reduced blood flow to the brain, which can also damage and eventually kill the brain cells. These can be the result of:
- Blockage and narrowing of the small blood vessels inside the brain
- A single stroke cuts off the blood supply to the brain.
- Multiple mini-strokes or transient ischemic attacks can lead to tiny but widespread brain damage.
Many of these problems come under underlying conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes and lifestyle factors like obesity or smoking. Handling these may reduce the risk of developing vascular dementia later in life.
Vascular dementia treatments
Vascular dementia has no cure, and there are no ways to reverse the loss of brain cells before diagnosing the condition. Treatments often help slow down the condition and aim to tackle any underlying causes to reduce the speed of brain cell loss. The treatments often involve:
- A healthy, balanced diet
- Losing weight if you are above 30 BMI
- Quit smoking
- Getting fit
- Cutting down on alcohol
- Taking medication to control high blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and prevent blood clots.
Other treatments are occupational therapy, physiotherapy, dementia activities, and psychological therapies—this help reduce the existing problems.
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 16 JULY 2022