Alternative or Complementary Treatments for Vascular Dementia

Vascular dementia is a condition that is associated with problems in planning, memory, reasoning and judgement. These are often affected by brain damage because of injured or broken flow of blood to the human brain.

Alternative or Complementary Treatments for Vascular Dementia

There are high levels of interest in alternative and complementary treatments which are available today. Many sufferers of vascular dementia often care for a variety of treatment options which are conventional. Apart from this, many patients also make use of alternative treatments that have proven to be beneficial. These treatments are natural and safe, so people can use them for various types of dementia.

Nutrition and Supplement Treatment for Vascular Dementia

  • L-Arginine: This type of amino acid has proved to be curative in treating the condition like vascular dementia. It does so by increasing the flow of blood to the brain. A regular dosage of 1.6 g every day for a period of 3 months should be given. However, Arginine may sometimes make herpes infections worse and intervene with medications such as anti-hypertension medicines and Viagra.
  • Antioxidants may play a significant role in protecting against the development of dementia. These may even slow down its rate of progression of the disease. Vitamin E when blended with Aricept was known to slow down the cognitive decline in the dementia sufferers. Coenzyme Q10, which is known to be another antioxidant, helps the brain in getting an ample amount of oxygen. The skin of various dark berries is also filled with a host of antioxidants. Many doctors suggest consuming frozen berries as the antioxidants can be easily absorbed.
  • B Vitamins: biotin and folic acid. Both these vitamins help aid in creating various neurotransmitters that are essential for proper brain functioning. Even though there are no scientific evidences that can relate to the condition, B12 and folic acid have a tendency to reduce the level of amino acids. When B12 is injected in the body via various means, it greatly helps.
  • Phosphatidylserine is a substance that occurs in the brain naturally. The supplements can help in increasing the levels of chemicals in the brain that deal with the cerebral area. When you are consuming various anticoagulants, it is advisable to avoid consuming this drug. The supplement comes in a variety of types, so one will have to sift between the available brands. It is better to spend on quality supplements rather than spending on low quality supplements that are sold in the market.
  • Zinc is often found in deficient amounts in aged persons and by consuming 30 to 40 mg per day, this can be overcome in improving the memory power.
  • Essential fatty acids, like the ones that are found in evening primrose oil, alpha linolenic acid (ALA) and borage oil can help in reducing the risks involved in dementia.

Acupuncture Treatment for Vascular Dementia

The origination of acupuncture happened in China and it addresses to various conditions that happen due to the imbalances in the energy flow known as Qi or chi. Acupuncture unblocks the energy by targeting on the meridians or specific channels of energy flow and restore its functioning. The therapists insert very fine needles into the body that renders an unusual therapeutic effect.

As this therapy has grown in its popularity in the West, many therapists believe that it reduces the tension in the local muscles and changes the way a body reacts to the pain that is caused in the area.

Various studies have also shown that acupuncture can help in treating vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease along with other mental issues like insomnia as well as depression. There were certain positive effects registered but better studies are required to understand the right effect.

Aromatherapy for Vascular Dementia

Aromatherapy involves the use of various essential oils that are extracted from plants and are known for their beneficial properties. The oils are used in the concentrated form and it is necessary to use them as per the instructions. The oils can be:

  • Applied to the skin directly and massaged thoroughly
  • Heated on the burner for producing aromatic effects
  • Added to the water for bathing.

There are registered evidences that aromatherapy can effectively treat vascular dementia and help in relaxing the mind. The oils also have an ability to improve the cognitive thinking or memory in people suffering from dementia diseases. Use of lemon balm and lavender oil has proven to be quite beneficial in treating dementia.

Bright Light Therapy for Vascular Dementia

Sleep disorders and disruptive nocturnal behaviors are very common in people suffering from vascular dementia. This is a clinical problem which is significantly observed in all the people and a peculiar sleep disturbance pattern is observed. People often show signs of elevated arousal and activities that take place at night, evening or late afternoon.

The sleep disturbances that are often associated with vascular dementia can be beneficially treated using bright light therapy. In this therapy, the person is asked to sit in front of the light box that dissipated light of intensity more than 30 times than the average office light. Small studies have also successfully shown the effectiveness of using this therapy in improving sleeplessness in the sufferers.

Recent studies have also shown the use of stronger light in care homes helped in improving the cognition in dementia. When the light intensity was increased, it helped the patients in sleeping well at night by reducing the depression levels.

Herbal Treatment for Vascular Dementia

Herbal medicines are often used for restoring the mental health of an individual. The level of constituents that are active in the herbal products can be used for treating vascular dementia.

‘Phytomedicine’ is often used to denote the scientific approach that relates to herbal medicines. These medicines have to be taken in specific dosages and have to be used in the right amount. The branches of herbal medicine involve Chinese traditional medicine, Western herbal medicine as well as Kampo, which is a Japanese variant of Chinese medicine.

Following herbs may prove to be beneficial for treating the symptoms that are related to dementia:

  • Ginkgo biloba: Till recent times, it was shown that biloba was effective in slowing down the symptoms associated with dementia. However, some studies have proven facts that this herb did not show any changes when given to the patient and is not being used as well.
  • Choto-San: Two studies show that Kampo has a constituent of 11 medicinal plants that have proven to be effective in treating vascular dementia. The research on this herb has been justified by various studies.
  • Kami-Umtan-To (KUT): This Kampo mixture has a blend of 13 plants and has been showing significant changes in the patients suffering from dementia.
  • Yizhi Capsule: Studies have shown that the use of Chinese herbs along with various other medicines can be used for treating the symptoms of vascular dementia. The evidences that are being collected in favor of this herb are quite inconclusive.

Homeopathy for Vascular Dementia

Treatment of dementia that can be done by various homeopathic therapies and therapists may use remedies that are based on their knowledge and expertise. Prior to prescribing any medications, the homeopaths will consider a person’s emotional, mental and physical state. This will help in determining the right approach and treatment for treating individuals. Some of the most common remedies that are used for treating dementia are:

  • Alumina: For vagueness, lifelessness and inability to answer any questions.
  • Argentum nitricum: For dementia that is often associated with irritability and with lack of control as well.
  • Cicuta: For dementia after head injuries, especially with convulsions.
  • Helleborus: For bewilderment, when an individual stares for a long time and does not answer questions.
  • Silica: For mental worsening with anxiety over small details.

Massage for Vascular Dementia

As there are multiple types of massages available, they can be used for manipulating the tissues that are present in the body. This can be used along with aromatherapy session and the anecdotal evidences suggest that the dementia symptoms like depression, anxiety and agitation can be treated effectively.

Music Therapy for Vascular Dementia

Music can show significant changes when used to control a person’s state of mind. This therapy comprises of use of various sounds that can help in improving the state of mind of a person. The therapist will use various sounds and music that will be played for duration of 30 minutes. The level of sound that will be used for treating dementia will be linked to a person’s mind without any constraints. The conditions become agitated and this is the time when the music will work to relieve a person from such stressful situations. This is based on certain reviews, however the benefits of such therapy has not been concluded.

TENS Treatment for Vascular Dementia

TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) include application of mild electrical current with the use of electrodes that are fixed on the skin. The treatment can often give rise to a specific sensation that can be tickling to the brain. This treatment is used for controlling the pain, example: during labor. There are evidences that show that the improvements that are achieved via this machine are often short lived.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 18, 2019

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