Forgetfulness—a part of aging as familiar as wrinkles and graying hair—can be a source of worry for many seniors. Is the growing tendency to forget words, recall names, or lose track of car keys normal... or is it an early sign of dementia? The good news is that in most … Read More
Vascular dementia involves problems with thinking or remembering caused by a disruption in blood flow in the brain. It can start after a large stroke or a series of small strokes blocks blood vessels in the brain. Or, vascular dementia can occur when blood vessel damage causes bleeding in the brain. Conditions like high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries contribute to the damage that triggers vascular dementia.
When blood vessels are blocked or narrowed, brain tissues are prevented from getting the oxygen-rich blood they need to function normally. Without blood, the tissues die, leading to cognitive problems.
Vascular dementia can occur on its own, or together with Alzheimer?s disease or other forms of dementia. Vascular dementia might come on suddenly if it follows a stroke. Or, the memory loss and mental decline may be more gradual if they result from a series of small strokes.
Symptoms of vascular dementia depend on how much brain tissue and which areas of the brain have been damaged. They may include memory loss, confusion, trouble concentrating, difficulty making decisions, agitation, depression, and trouble speaking or understanding.
Anyone who has had a stroke or transient ischemic attack (mini-stroke) may be at risk for vascular dementia. People with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and blood vessel disease are also at higher risk. Those with risk factors may need screening to evaluate their memory and thinking ability.
No treatments exist for vascular dementia, but some of the drugs that have been approved to treat Alzheimer?s disease?including the cholinesterase inhibitors (Aricept, Exelon, Razadyne) and memantine (Namenda)?can help with symptoms.
Vascular dementia is preventable with lifestyle modifications. Controlling your weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol with diet and exercise can reduce your risk of getting this condition. Avoiding cigarettes and limiting alcohol are two other good prevention strategies.
High cholesterol can have wide-ranging effects—both direct and indirect—on your heart and several other organs served by your vascular system. As cholesterol builds in the arteries of your heart, brain, and throughout your body, it usually does so silently. In some cases, the first signs of atherosclerosis may be a … Read More
Do you feel as if you've been experiencing more short-term memory loss lately? Interestingly, what many of us think of as short-term memory—for example, recalling in the afternoon what we had for breakfast that morning—is actually defined by scientists as long-term memory. Short-term memory is technically limited to information learned … Read More
Anyone who has seen the effects of Alzheimer's disease on a loved one knows it's a devastating condition—one that that compromises not only the ability to remember and to think but to take care of oneself. But what is Alzheimer’s? The Alzheimer's Association provides a direct and stark definition of … Read More
Lewy body dementia symptoms are often confused for signs of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Both conditions are characterized by declines in thinking skills, and both can lead to mood changes and difficulty communicating. But while AD always results in significant memory loss, Lewy body dementia doesn’t always cause serious memory problems. … Read More
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common of the various types of dementia and has become something of a “catch-all” term for severe cognitive impairment, but it isn’t the only type of dementia to which older adults are vulnerable. “Figuring out which type a person has is important, since the drug treatments … Read More
Alzheimer’s disease does not affect just the elderly—sometimes it can attack people in their 50s, 40s, and even 30s. And when it does, the effects can be devastating. So what is early-onset Alzheimer’s disease (EOAD)? Simply put, EOAD involves the onset of Alzheimer’s before the age of 65, when it … Read More
The benefits of tea, as studies continually illustrate, include positive effects on your brain as well as your blood pressure. Consider it an effective "plant food"—its multiple benefits can reduce the incidence of major diseases. Cognitive Benefits of Tea Studies support cognitive benefits of tea, especially green tea. All tea … Read More
Vascular dementia (VaD) ranks second among memory loss causes after Alzheimer’s disease, yet it is often overlooked. But what is vascular dementia? The condition is caused by vascular problems affecting memory regions and supporting structures in the brain, and is closely associated with cardiovascular disease and cerebrovascular disease. Causes of … Read More
Various dementia types can be caused by medical or psychiatric conditions, among them high fever, vitamin deficiency, head trauma, or depression. These are the so-called "reversible dementias." Other dementia types are irreversible and—if you’re wondering, "Is dementia hereditary?"—can be caused by family genes. Let’s look at reversible dementia first. It’s … Read More