Vascular dementia it is the second most frequent type of dementia, after Alzheimer's disease. It assumes between 10 and 20% of cases.
Like all dementias, it consists of a cognitive deterioration. This refers to the loss or worsening of some mental faculties, such as memory, reason or behavior.
Vascular dementia occurs due to brain injuries due to cerebrovascular disease. What happens is that certain areas of the brain do not get enough blood supply and end up getting injured. In this article we explain why it occurs, its symptoms and its treatment.
What is vascular dementia?
In order to diagnose vascular dementia, basic requirements must be met. First, the criteria of dementia. As we mentioned before, they are based on a deterioration of the mental faculties. To measure it, doctors use different tests and questionnaires.
On the other hand, there must be evidence of a cerebrovascular disease. It can be observed due to a history of a vascular problem or signs on physical examination.
Techniques such as computed tomography or magnetic resonance are also used to observe possible brain injuries.
A stroke can cause vascular dementia, but it does not always happen. In fact, it can also occur due to other disorders that affect the blood vessels. Any pathology that decreases brain irrigation, such as atherosclerosis, can produce it.
Because of all this, we can identify certain risk factors. Suffer diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol or smoking they are situations that increase the risk of vascular dementia. In this way, controlling these factors can reduce their incidence.
The symptoms of vascular dementia vary according to the part of the brain where blood flow is reduced. They are similar to other types of dementia.
First, The person may feel disoriented and have difficulty concentrating. It also decreases the ability to organize thoughts. One of the most alarming symptoms is memory loss.
Other common symptoms are:
- Unstable march.
- Inability to control urine.
- Difficulty performing tasks that used to be easy.
- Problems with the language
- Changes of mood or personality.
- Loss of social skills.
- Alterations of the dream.
- Hallucinations or delusions are possible.
The symptoms may be more obvious and sudden when they occur as a result of a stroke. On other occasions, the symptoms may be aggravated in obvious steps. This usually allows differential diagnosis with Alzheimer's, which is usually gradual.
However, it can also develop subtly and gradually. As the disease progresses, the symptoms become more obvious and serious. The person suffering from vascular dementia ends up being unable to take care of itself.
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How to prevent vascular dementia?
Protecting the health of blood vessels is essential. As we mentioned before, maintain adequate blood pressure It must be one of the first measures. In addition, we must control or avoid diabetes. It is convenient to maintain a good diet and exercise.
On the other hand, it is essential to stop smoking. Tobacco is very harmful to blood vessels. In the same way, we must keep cholesterol at adequate levels, as it can help reduce the risk of strokes. That's why diet is so important.
It is very important to pay attention to these preventive measures, since there is no effective treatment once established vascular dementia. Treatment is usually focused on the control of risk factors.
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How is vascular dementia diagnosed?
The diagnosis is obtained by the probability that the symptoms are caused by a vascular problem. Bliss Probability increases according to the personal history of stroke and, also, if you have had any other disorder of the heart or vessels.
To guide the diagnosis, blood tests are also performed. They will pay attention to cholesterol, sugar levels, anemia, etc. Imaging and ultrasound scans of the carotid arteries are also performed to know its status.
Further, Neuropsychological tests help distinguish between types of dementia. They evaluate the ability to speak, write and work with numbers, among others.
People with vascular dementia usually have more difficulty analyzing a problem. However, they have less difficulty learning and remembering information, as opposed to those suffering from Alzheimer's.
To avoid vascular dementia it is very important to lead a healthy lifestyle. Caring for food and exercising are two basic pillars. However, if, despite that, you perceive some warning symptom, do not hesitate to see the doctor as soon as possible.