vascular dementia

Vascular Dementia: Stages, Symptoms, Treatments & More

What to Know About Vascular Dementia

At Stellar Care, our compassionate approach to vascular dementia care ensures that  your loved one can maintain a life filled with dignity, purpose, and the caring, individualized attention  they deserve. If you begin to notice symptoms or signs of vascular dementia in your loved one, we encourage you to take the time to educate yourself about this disease. With knowledge and understanding, you and your family will be better equipped to provide the necessary support and to create a thoughtful and appropriate care plan for their needs. Remember you are not alone in this journey and at Stellar Care, we are here to support you and your loved one every step of the way.  

What is Vascular Dementia?

Vascular Dementia is a type of dementia caused by reduced blood flow to the brain, which results in damage to brain cells. It is the second most common type of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease.

Vascular Dementia Causes

Blocked or damaged blood vessels in the brain can prevent oxygen and nutrients from reaching parts of the brain. Causes may include small vessel diseases, strokes and blood vessel damage. Chronic conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and arteriosclerosis may be a factor.

Common conditions that lead to vascular dementia are:

Symptoms of Vascular Dementia

Vascular dementia symptoms will depend on the area of the brain where blood flow has become impaired. Symptoms usually involve difficulties with problem-solving and the speed of thinking instead of memory loss like in Alzheimer’s disease.  Signs and symptoms may include:

End of life symptoms

End of life symptoms include the need for increased sleep, decreased appetite, difficulty swallowing, depression or anxiety, anger and frustration, cold hands and feet, bladder and bowel incontinence, the need for physical assistance, and vacillating in and out of awareness of surroundings. Human contact such as holding their hand or caressing their arms can bring them comfort. Our professional care staff at Stellar Care allows caregivers and family members to spend quality time with their loved one.

Risk factors of Vascular Dementia

Risk factors for vascular dementia may include:

How is Vascular Dementia Diagnosed?

There is no one specific test that specifically confirms vascular dementia. Your physician can determine if your loved one has dementia and will assess whether vascular dementia is the cause of their symptoms. Based on their medical history of stroke and disorders of the heart and blood vessels and the results of relevant tests, the doctor will make an evaluation. The doctor will probably monitor your loved one’s blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. They may also order tests to determine if there is a thyroid disorder or vitamin deficiencies. 

Neurological assessments may include testing reflexes, muscle tone and strength, vision, sense of touch, coordination and balance. They may order an MRI or CT scan because it can provide more information about brain changes and possible strokes. Neuropsychological tests can assess the ability to speak, write, understand language, work with numbers, learn and recall information, solve problems and respond to situations. 

Vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease often occur simultaneously. Studies show that many individuals with vascular dementia also exhibit symptoms consistent with Alzheimer’s disease.

Stages of Vascular Dementia

Vascular Dementia Treatment

Treatments manage the health conditions and risk factors that contribute to each person’s cause of vascular dementia. Treating the heart and blood vessel conditions can slow the progression of the disease. Doctors may prescribe medications to lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, prevent blood clots and control blood sugar.

Vascular Dementia: Rapid Deterioration

In cases with rapid deterioration, individuals experience a faster decline in memory, cognitive thinking and behaviors. Determining the treatment for rapid progressive dementia relies on identifying the underlying cause which may be challenging. Some forms may be reversible when the underlying causes are treated promptly. There are many types that are incurable. Many conditions can cause rapid progression such as:

Vascular Dementia and Excessive Sleeping

Sleep disturbances and excessive sleeping can occur in some patients with this condition.This may result in a mixed-up body clock and confusion. Symptoms can occur due to  disruptions in the sleep-wake cycle, medications, hormone imbalances, or underlying health conditions. Physicians can evaluate and provide guidance for sleep improvement. 

Families who are coping with the effects of  a loved one who has vascular dementia may benefit from counseling or support services. Sometimes the family is in denial about dementia prognosis and needs help to cope with the difficult decisions that need to be made. Dealing with your loved one’s memory loss is not easy and it’s important for caregivers to practice self-care. The process of this disease can be both physically and emotionally demanding and we are here to provide help for you and your loved one. 

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Memory Care

Our experienced staff provides a structured environment where residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias can thrive with set routines.

Club Stellar

Residents who are early on in the progression of their dementia or Alzheimer’s disease may be eligible for our Club Stellar program and special rate.

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Our staff prepares nutritious meals three times a day, featuring in-season fruits and vegetables, homemade soups, and diabetic options.

Activities

The Stellar Care activities staff curates tailored activities, field trips, and programs for all residents at various levels in the progression of their dementia.
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