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Signs and Symptoms of Vascular Dementia

Vascular dementia is due to damage to the small blood vessels that supply nutrients to the brain.  As these vessels become narrowed or blocked, blood flow to the brain is reduced, and patients experience a decline in mental function.  Vascular dementia is the second most common cause of dementia, second only to Alzheimer’s disease.  We have put together a list of common signs and symptoms of vascular disease below.

Also, we have information on diagnosis, helpful books and valuable resources for patients.

The Most Common Signs and Symptoms of Vascular Dementia include:

  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Migraine-like headaches
  • Uncontrollable laughing or crying
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Inability to handle money
  • Agitation
  • Night wandering
  • Memory loss in later stages
  • Unsteady gait
  • Incoherent communication
  • Inability to organize thoughts or actions

Vascular dementia typically occurs between the ages of 60 and 75, and is more common in men than in women.

Diagnosis of Vascular Dementia

Although Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia are two different problems, there is an overlap between them.  Alzheimer’s disease is slowly progressive, whereas vascular dementia can come on suddenly.  If a diagnosis of vascular dementia is suspected, a medical practitioner may order a CT Scan, an MRI, a PET Scan, or a Doppler Ultrasound to check for brain abnormalities.  As well, special neurophysiological tests can check for cognitive function.  Memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease does not occur with vascular dementia until later in the course of the disease.

Books For People With Signs and Symptoms of Vascular Dementia

HealthScouter Dementia: Vascular Dementia and Dementia Patient Advocate: Symptoms of Dementia and Dementia Treatment
Katrina Robinson
When a Family Member Has Dementia: Steps to Becoming a Resilient Caregiver
Susan McCurry

The Better Brain Book
Carol Colman
The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People with Alzheimer Disease, Other Dementias, and Memory Loss in Later Life, 4th Edition
Peter V. Rabins

Vascular Dementia Resources

General Patient Resources

  • Alzheimer’s Association

Learn about vascular dementia and how it develops.

  • About . com

Vascular dementia is one of the second most common types of dementia, along with Lewy body dementia. Learn about the prevalence, causes, risk factors, symptoms and more.

  • Memory Loss and the Brain

The Newsletter of the Memory Disorders Project at Rutgers- Newark.

  • Dementia Care Central

Learn about dementia, find resources, locate caregivers.

Medical Resources

  • Mayo Clinic

Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, treatment of this stroke-related disorder.

  • Web MD

Web MD details what vascular dementia is and its causes, symptoms, and treatments.

  • Medscape Reference

Vascular dementia article for professionals by professionals.