Dementia is a health condition that makes a person less active and inept to perform several day-to-day activities. This article discusses the causes, effects and possible treatments of vascular dementia.
Dementia may be related to several factors and no specific reasons for dementia have been found yet. The affected person’s brain functions deteriorate with time. In this condition, the victims undergo problems related to remembering, planning and even coordinating things and movements. Vascular dementia is a type of dementia and the second most occurring type of dementia, the first being Alzheimer’s disease. Records have stated that this condition affects millions of aged people all over the world.
What is Vascular Dementia?
Blood is carried to the brain through the network of vascular systems. Disabled or damaged blood vessels of the vascular system resulting in inadequate blood supply to the brain cells. This cuts down the supply of oxygen, glucose and other nutrients to the brain. With the degeneration of the vascular system, the brain blood vessels get damaged by getting blocked or leaked. The brain cells in the absence of a supply of blood quickly degenerate and dies. In this condition, the person suffering from it has problems in thinking, reasoning and also with language. All these aspects of thinking, reasoning, memory, problem-solving, language, etc. are collectively referred to as cognition. An increased index of such cognitive problems can hamper the general course of life and this is the condition that is known as vascular dementia.
Vascular dementia is the impairment of memory and cognitive functioning resulting from a cerebrovascular disease like infarcts. Research has shown a link between aging, low education level, and post-stroke dementia as well as risk factors like diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and smoking.1
Causes of Vascular Dementia
Vascular dementia is a health condition where the brain blood vessels carrying blood to the cells of the brain gets partially or completely blocked due to plaque formation. This is a situation that could get triggered off by various factors such as:
Stroke: A stroke is one of the major causes of vascular dementia. Even if several smaller strokes take place over a period of time, then it can lead to vascular dementia. If vascular dementia occurs after a single major stroke, the condition is referred to as ‘post-stroke dementia’.
High Blood Pressure as a Cause of Vascular Dementia: High blood pressure too can increase the chances of vascular dementia by several times. Recent researches have suggested that high blood pressure not just increases the chances of vascular dementia in particular but may lead to other types of dementia as well.
Heart Disease and Vascular Dementia: Cardiac diseases and ailments of the heart can also be a major triggering catalyst that can lead to vascular dementia.
Diabetes as a Cause of Vascular Dementia: Diabetes is a condition in which, glucose produced by breaking down of the sugar cells, cannot be transferred to the other body cells. Hence, this results in depletion of glucose levels of the body cells. Over a period of time, type I, II and even gestational diabetes can be some of the causes of vascular dementia.
High Cholesterol is a Major Cause of Vascular Dementia: High cholesterol is yet again one of the conditions that can lead to the problem of vascular dementia. High cholesterol is a health condition when the arteries and the veins of the body are clogged with accumulated fats and cholesterol. This results in a difficulty of blood circulation. Hence, this constricted path of blood flow also naturally deprives the brain cells of the required amount of blood, resulting in vascular dementia.
Effects of Vascular Dementia
Vascular dementia affects the brain and the overall psyche of a person. This condition can grow over time, if not treated properly. This disease can occur at any age but is more common in the late fifties and the early sixties of a person. The following are some of the effects of vascular dementia.
Loss of Memory: People suffering from vascular dementia often experience loss of memory. They cannot remember what had happened in the past and often lose track of things that must have happened at a certain stage of their lives. This, however, does not mean that all their life memories get wiped out. It is just that patches of their memories start to fail. This process can worsen with the passing phase of time.
Confused Thought Process as an Effect of Vascular Dementia: Vascular dementia also spoils the ability to think clearly. The victim often cannot think in a clear and logical manner. Reasonability takes a huge backseat and the person often sounds and acts in an irrelevant manner.
Problem with Language: Often, patients suffering from vascular dementia face problems of inability to speak in proper languages. Proper use of language and expression becomes a major challenge for them. This too is one of the common effects of vascular dementia.
Depression as an Effect of Vascular Dementia: Investigations have revealed the fact that vascular dementia can lead to depression. It is found that both depression and vascular dementia could be closely related to each other. People suffering from midlife depression often have a higher chance of developing vascular dementia in later times.
Treatment of Vascular Dementia
There is no major drug that can be used for the treatment of vascular dementia. However, there are some treatment procedures and medicines, which are used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, can also be used for the treatment of vascular dementia. Although the results and the outcomes will be slow, yet they are sure to surface over a certain period of time. Another important way of handling vascular dementia is by controlling other related health conditions. One of the most important and effective ways of controlling vascular dementia is through controlling the health conditions that can otherwise lead to the problem of vascular dementia. Hence, you must control health problems like heart diseases, high cholesterol, and diabetes. A healthy lifestyle and timely treatment are the best ways of keeping the problem in control.
The severity of vascular dementia can reduce with time. This is seen in cases of vascular dementia that arises out of the stroke. The effect of vascular dementia that arises out of stroke often prevails for a time period of three years. Soon after this phase the brain cells regrow and start functioning in a proper and a prior manner. This results in an improvement in the condition of the patient. Moreover improved caregiving and other supportive treatments can help the patient suffering from vascular dementia to recover faster.
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