More than 6 million people in the United States alone suffer from dementia. While you might be familiar with dementia, you might not have heard of vascular dementia before. This is because this is a very particular type of dementia that some people may develop and it is quite different than ordinary dementia.
But how is it different and what causes it? More importantly, what kind of vascular dementia treatment options are there? Keep reading and learn more about the options below.
What You Need to Know About Vascular Dementia
Vascular dementia has very similar symptoms to regular dementia. A person with this condition may have trouble thinking, reasoning, and coming to certain conclusions. As the disease progresses, it will be harder and harder for that person to think and rationalize normally.
There are a variety of things that may cause this condition. Instead of a gradual mental decline that occurs with regular dementia, vascular dementia tends to occur after some kind of medical event that temporarily stops or restricts blood flow to the brain. For example, if a person has a stroke that restricts the flow of blood to the brain, that person may start to experience symptoms of vascular dementia.
Of course, not everyone who has a stroke will develop this type of dementia. But why? The reason seems to rest in the severity of the stroke and where it takes place in the brain.
The more severe the stroke is, and if the stroke occurs in a vital part of the brain, the more likely the person will be to develop vascular dementia. A stroke doesn’t always have to be the cause of vascular dementia either. There are certain chronic conditions that may involve poor blood flow.
In this case, the brain may not be able to get enough blood which would end up depriving the brain of oxygen and nutrients that the brain requires to function in a healthy manner. For example, diabetes and heart disease are two conditions that restrict blood flow throughout the body.
Smoking cigarettes may also cause this problem since the consumption of nicotine forces blood vessels to constrict, which will make it more difficult for blood to flow throughout the body. Of course, these conditions or the act of smoking cigarettes will not automatically give a person vascular dementia. However, these factors can increase the likelihood of developing this condition.
The symptoms of this condition will vary from person to person. Some of the most common symptoms involve confusion, difficulty thinking, difficulty concentrating, and difficulty communicating with others. Some people may also have trouble remembering memories or remembering new information.
Some people may even be restless, depressed, or agitated. While vascular dementia tends to occur after an incident like a stroke, this is not always the case. In some cases, the onset of this dementia may be more gradual.
In this case, the onset would resemble the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. People who are older and have conditions that affect the flow of their blood tend to be at a higher risk for developing this disease. But what treatment options are available?
Vascular Dementia Treatment Options
The interesting thing about vascular dementia is that there is no diagnostic test for it. To diagnose this condition, the doctor will have to examine the patient’s symptoms. The doctor may also test for other things to make sure that the symptoms are not being caused by something else like a vitamin deficiency.
A doctor may also put the patient through a neurological exam. That way, the doctor can test the patient’s reflexes and awareness. In some cases, brain imaging may be necessary.
Whatever the case, once a diagnosis is made, you will have a few treatment options to consider. First, it is important to understand that there is no cure for this condition. However, there are several treatments that can be used to manage this condition.
The first line of treatment usually involves medications that help improve blood flow. This is because improved blood flow can help slow the neurological decline associated with this condition. While it cannot completely prevent neurological decline, slowing it down is better than doing nothing at all.
What You Need to Know
Medications that manage diabetes, improve blood flow, and lower cholesterol are all good options. Medications that prevent blood clots can also be helpful as they can prevent further strokes from occurring. There are also some lifestyle changes that can be made to improve the quality of life for the affected person.
For example, a memory care community found here can be a great choice. A memory care community can ensure that a person with vascular dementia gets the care and treatment they need to live a fulfilling and happy life. As for lifestyle changes, eating healthy is very important.
Eating fatty foods certainly won’t help improve a person’s blood flow, but healthy foods can. If a person with vascular dementia smokes, it is important for that person to stop smoking. That way, the person’s flow of blood will be improved due to the lack of nicotine to constrict the blood vessels.
All About Vascular Dementia Treatment
Vascular dementia can be a terrible condition to deal with, but vascular dementia treatment can help improve the situation. Treatment usually involves medication to improve blood flow, but memory care centers and lifestyle changes can also be a big help. That way, the person with this condition can have a good quality of life.
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