Vascular dementia symptoms vary, depending on the part of your brain where blood flow is impaired. Symptoms often overlap with those of other types of dementia, especially Alzheimer's disease. Vascular dementia symptoms may be most clear-cut when they occur suddenly following a stroke. When changes in your thinking and reasoning seem clearly linked to a stroke, this condition is sometimes called "post-stroke dementia."
Another characteristic pattern of vascular dementia symptoms sometimes follows a series of strokes or mini strokes. In this pattern, changes in your thought processes occur in noticeable "steps" downward from your previous level of function, unlike the gradual, steady decline that typically occurs in Alzheimer's disease.
But vascular dementia can also develop very gradually, just like Alzheimer's disease. What's more, vascular dementia and Alzheimer's often occur together. Studies show that people with dementia symptoms usually have brain changes typical of more than one type. Some doctors call this condition "mixed dementia."
Vascular dementia symptoms include:
Apr. 30, 2011
- Trouble paying attention and concentrating
- Reduced ability to organize thoughts or actions
- Decline in ability to analyze a situation, develop an effective plan, and communicate plan to others
- Difficulty deciding what to do next
- Problems with memory
- Restlessness and agitation
- Unsteady gait
- Sudden or frequent urge to urinate, or inability to control passing urine
- Wandering at night
- Dementia: Hope through research. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/dementias/detail_dementia.htm. Accessed March 6, 2011.
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- Rockwood K, et al. The inclusion of cognition in vascular risk factor clinical practice guidelines. Clinical Interventions in Aging. 2009;4:425.
- Vascular dementia. Alzheimer's Association. http://www.alz.org/professionals_and_researchers_13517.asp. Accessed March 4, 2011.
- Mixed dementia. Alzheimer's Association. http://www.alz.org/professionals_and_researchers_13516.asp. Accessed March 4, 2011.
- Wright CB. Etiology, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis of vascular dementia. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Feb. 15, 2011.
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- Neurological diagnostic tests and procedures. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/misc/diagnostic_tests.htm. Accessed March 9, 2011.
- Carotid ultrasound. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/cu/cu_all.html. Accessed March 9, 2011.
- Aricept: Highlights of prescribing information. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2010/022568s004,020690s033,021720s006lbl.pdf. Accessed March 9, 2011.
- Medications for memory loss. Alzheimer's Association. http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_standard_prescriptions.asp. Accessed March 9, 2011.
- Caring for a person with Alzheimer's disease. National Institute on Aging. http://www.nia.nih.gov/NR/rdonlyres/E0F45395-A473-4B26-8F7E-86F4314405CE/0/CaringGuide.pdf. Accessed March 9, 2011.