A Closer Look at Vascular Dementia
By Silverado Staff Writer
Dementia is an umbrella term typically used to describe any significant decline in cognitive function. And although Alzheimer’s disease is the most commonly diagnosed dementia, there are several other related conditions that can affect abilities in many different ways.
Vascular dementia is widely considered the second most common form of dementia, affecting up to 4% of Americans over the age of 65 – or one in every 25 seniors.
This increasingly common form of dementia is thought to be caused by a decreased blood flow to parts of the brain, often due to a series of mini-strokes that contribute to blocked arteries, which then limits oxygen levels in the brain. While it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact cause, high or low blood pressure, high cholesterol and a family history of heart disease can all be contributing factors.
As is the case with Alzheimer’s, changes to brain functions can remain mild for a substantial period of time. However, unlike Alzheimer’s disease, early detection can actually help address many of the risk factors leading up to the disease – therefore reducing the risk of significant decline in cognitive abilities.
For more information on this and other forms of dementia contact your primary care physician or your local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.