Vascular dementia is a general term that describes problems with reasoning, judgment, planning, memory caused due to damage to the brain due to lack of blood flow. If you keep an interest in knowing more about vascular dementia, then read the following post and know what happens if you have vascular dementia and what to do for it.
What Is Vascular Dementia?
A decline in thinking skills or ability that is caused by conditions that blocks or reduces the blood flow to the brain, thus depriving brain cells of vital oxygen and nutrients; is known as Vascular dementia. An inadequate flow of blood can damage and eventually kill the cells anywhere in the body. The brain is a complex and complicated structure with various blood vessels present in it. This makes it quite vulnerable to various degenerative diseases like vascular dementia. An individual with this condition, there will be a sudden decline in the thought process of the individual following a stroke in which some of the vital blood vessels in the brain get blocked.
Thinking problems may also begin as mild changes that gradually worsen due to multiple minor strokes or other conditions affecting smaller blood vessels, resulting in cumulative damage.
A number of experts prefer the term “Vascular cognitive impairment or VCI” to “Vascular dementia”. Vascular brain changes often coexist with changes that are associated with other types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies.
Vascular dementia is considered the second most common cause of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease and it accounts for 10% of the cases. Depending upon where the blood vessels are damaged in the brain, vascular dementia can cause different symptoms. For instance, an individual who had a stroke may have sudden problems with memory, speech or balance. However, an individual can have multiple strokes that may be significantly small; but the damage can add up over time.
What Happens If You Have Vascular Dementia?
Depending on the severity of the blood vessel damage, and the part of the brain affected, there may be different symptoms in vascular dementia. There may be symptoms like confusion, problems with orientation, problems articulating or understanding, and impairment of vision occurring immediately after a stroke.
With these changes in thinking processes, there may also be some physical stroke symptoms like sudden bouts of severe headache, problems ambulating, numbness on one side of the body, or paralysis affecting one side of the face or entire body.
Several incidents of mini strokes or certain other medical conditions which have a direct affect on the nerve fibers and blood vessels in the brain may also cause gradual change in the overall thought process of the individual as there is gradual damage occurring to the brain. With this, there might be impaired planning and judgements, uncontrolled crying or laughing, decline in the ability to pay attention, impaired function in social situations and difficulty finding the right words.
However, memory loss may or may not be a significant thing in vascular dementia, depending on the specific brain areas where the flow of blood is reduced.
What To Do For Vascular Dementia?
There are no approved drugs specifically to treat the symptoms of vascular dementia. However, there is some clinical trial evidences that specific drugs that are approved for treating Alzheimer’s disease, may also offer a modest benefit for individuals diagnosed with vascular dementia.
Treatment for vascular dementia is aimed at controlling any underlying health condition that may be contributing to the disease or any risk factors that the patient may be having. It is seen that managing certain underlying conditions which affect the blood vessels or heart slows down the progression of vascular dementia and at times prevents any worsening of the condition. Depending on one’s situation, doctors may prescribe medication to reduce the cholesterol level, lower the blood pressure, help control the blood sugar if you have diabetes, and prevent your blood from clotting and keep your arteries clear.
- Patients should work with their doctors to develop the best treatment plans for their symptoms and circumstances. There are some lifestyle changes and home remedies that you can follow to reduce the symptoms in vascular dementia. Below are some of the things that you can do for vascular dementia.
- Be more physically active or participate in regular physical activity. This actually helps in enhancing the brain health and reduces the risk of heart problems, stroke and other diseases that affect the blood vessels.
- Take healthy diet. A balanced diet, along with proper sleep and limited alcohol intake can also promote good brain health and reduce the risk of heart diseases.
Maintain a normal weight.
- Engage well in social activities.
- Play games, puzzles and adopt new activities like an art class, music class, or dance class, and challenge your brain.
Apart from these, you also need to treat other diseases that affect the brain, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure.(If present)
Caring For An Individual With Vascular Dementia is highly essential. One must seek out support from family and friends, caregivers and friends must encourage the sick individuals, provide them a calm environment, do activities together and also support them in every aspect.
It is also essential that the caregiver must also be taken care off, as it usually happens that people caring patients with any type of dementia, usually suffer from feelings of worry and grief, frustration and discouragement, and also social isolation. So, it is also important for the caregivers, to have proper care of themselves and have relaxation time for self.
Now that we know about what happens in vascular dementia, in case you or any of your loved ones is suffering from any of these symptoms, do reach for professional medical help and also try out the best possible steps to reduce the severity of the condition.