Vascular Dementia: Symptoms, Stages, and Treatment
If your loved one has recently received a vascular dementia diagnosis, you may wonder how best to support them. You likely have questions about their prognosis, how to plan for your family’s future, and the best ways to preserve your loved one’s health and happiness. Continue reading to learn more about what to expect.
What Causes Vascular Dementia?
After Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia. Some people develop vascular dementia after a stroke blocks an artery in the brain, but strokes aren’t always to blame. Vascular dementia can also result from other health issues that damage blood vessels, impair circulation, and deprive the brain of vital oxygen and nutrients.
Many risk factors for heart disease and stroke – such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and smoking – also increase the chances of developing vascular dementia. The odds of having this condition get higher after age 65.
Diagnosing dementia or other forms of cognitive impairment often begins with testing that evaluates specific thinking skills such as judgment, planning, problem-solving, reasoning, and memory. Magnetic resonance imaging can also detect signs of a recent stroke or other vascular brain changes.
Vascular Dementia Symptoms and Stages
Symptoms vary depending on the person, the cause, and the areas of the brain affected by a lack of blood flow. For example, vascular dementia can result in memory loss when they have damage to the regions that affect information storage and retrieval, but not everyone with this condition has memory problems.
The warning signs of vascular dementia may be most noticeable when they occur after a major stroke. In its earliest phases, this condition causes confusion, slowed thoughts, and difficulties with problem-solving and decision-making. With time, the symptoms will get progressively worse, eventually becoming severe enough to interfere with daily functioning.
Later stages of vascular dementia may include issues like these.
- Feelings of disorientation and confusion
- Noticeable changes to personality and behavior
- Depression or apathy
- Trouble speaking or understanding speech
- Limited mobility and difficulty balancing and walking
- Urinary incontinence
How to Help Your Family
While you understandably want to be there to look after your loved one, caring for someone with vascular dementia can be a significant responsibility amid all your other duties and commitments, possibly taking a toll on your mental and physical health. Fortunately, experienced caregivers are available to help you and your family. A customized care plan can allow people with dementia to maintain their well-being and quality of life longer.
At Legacy Homecare LA, our caregivers will provide tailored services to meet your loved one’s needs, starting by helping with basic daily tasks and seamlessly adapting as their symptoms progress. Our team members understand how challenging it can be for a family to face a vascular dementia diagnosis, and we fully commit to delivering the compassion and companionship required to manage this condition.
We offer in-home care services for families across the greater Los Angeles area, including the communities of Malibu, Santa Monica, Encino, and Beverly Hills. To learn more about how we can help you and your loved ones manage vascular dementia symptoms, book a consultation with us today.