The symptoms of vascular dementia depend on which area of the brain is affected, but generally, early signs include:
poor short-term memory
difficulty with everyday skills
slowed thought processes
There may also be changes in:
ability to solve problems
ability to make decisions and plans
mood, particularly rapidly changing mood
If someone develops symptoms of dementia after a stroke, they may also have speech or vision problems.
In one specific type of vascular dementia, called subcortical vascular dementia or Binswanger’s disease, the symptoms include:
early loss of bladder control
personality and mood changes
increased risk of falls
reduced facial expressions
About 10% of people with dementia have ‘mixed dementia’. This is a combination of two or more types of dementia – usually Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia – and the person may have symptoms of both.
People with vascular dementia may have periods where their symptoms seem stable, but they will always worsen over time.
Currently, there are no specific treatments for vascular dementia, but medication may be given for underlying conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart problems or diabetes.
Medications for Alzheimer’s disease are not effective for vascular dementia, unless the person has been diagnosed with mixed dementia.
A person with vascular dementia should be supported to stop smoking, exercise, regularly, eat a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight. These steps won’t cure vascular dementia, but it may slow its progression.
To speak to a specialist nurse about vascular dementia or any other aspect of dementia, please call the Helpline on 0800 888 6678 (Monday-Friday 9am-9pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am-5pm) or email email@example.com