Steve Thompson recalls signs of his early-onset dementia
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The Alzheimer’s Society (AS) says vascular dementia symptoms may develop suddenly, or more gradually. The charity states: “Some symptoms may be similar to those of other types of dementia. Memory loss is common in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, but is not usually the main early symptom of vascular dementia.”
The AS says it is common for someone with early vascular dementia to experience mood changes, such as apathy, depression or anxiety.
It states: “Depression is common, partly because people with vascular dementia may be aware of the difficulties the condition is causing.
“A person with vascular dementia may also become generally more emotional. They may be prone to rapid mood swings and being unusually tearful or happy.”
There are also some cognitive symptoms. These include problems with planning or organising, difficulties following a series of steps, slower speed of thought and problems concentrating, including short periods of sudden confusion.
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The charity says: “Other symptoms that someone with vascular dementia may experience vary between the different types.
“Post-stroke dementia will often be accompanied by the obvious physical symptoms of the stroke.
“Depending on which part of the brain is affected, someone might have paralysis or weakness of a limb.”
It adds: “Symptoms of subcortical vascular dementia vary less. Early loss of bladder control is common.”
The Mayo Clinic says vascular dementia symptoms vary, depending on the part of your brain where blood flow is impaired.
The AS says if the vascular system within the brain becomes damaged – so that the blood vessels leak or become blocked – then blood cannot reach the brain cells and they will eventually die. This death of brain cells can cause problems with memory, thinking or reasoning.
“Together these three elements are known as cognition. When these cognitive problems are bad enough to have a significant impact on daily life, this is known as vascular dementia,” it states.
The charity says at least 10 percent of people with dementia are diagnosed with mixed dementia.
It notes: “This generally means that both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular disease are thought to have caused the dementia.”
The NHS says dementia can be difficult to diagnose, especially if your symptoms are mild.
“If the GP has been able to rule out other causes for your symptoms, they’ll refer you to a healthcare professional who specialises in diagnosing dementia,” it adds.
Dementia UK says if vascular dementia is caused by or related to heart disease, diabetes, or strokes, changing lifestyle and taking medication to control these conditions may prevent dementia from getting worse.
It adds: “Regular health checks are advisable so physical health can be monitored and appropriate interventions given which may include medication for an underlying condition.”
The Mayo Clinic says the health of your brain’s blood vessels is closely linked to your overall heart health.
It notes: “Keeping your blood pressure in the normal range may help prevent both vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.”
Moreover, it says: “Regular physical activity should be a key part of everyone’s wellness plan. In addition to all of its other benefits, exercise may help you avoid vascular dementia.”
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