Vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia. It accounts for around 17% of all dementia cases and is caused by an inadequate blood flow to the brain, this in turn damages and kills the brain cells. The symptoms can occur suddenly as a consequence of a larger stroke or gradually as a result of a series of smaller strokes, the latter generally referred to as multi-infarct dementia. The disease can therefore result in a very dramatic change of a person, or an almost unnoticeable one.
Vascular dementia usually progresses in bigger or smaller steps following a bigger or smaller stroke. Despite of this, vascular dementia often progresses faster than Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, it is not uncommon for persons with vascular dementia to also have Alzheimer’s disease.
To this day vascular dementia is irreversible and there is no cure for the disease. However, by preventing additional strokes the condition may not progress as rapidly. The risk factors of vascular dementia are associated with higher risks of strokes and include high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes and high cholesterol. Apart from a healthy lifestyle, there are medication to help eliminating some of these factors.