The term vascular dementia or VaD refers to a condition that affects memory, mental function, emotions and physical ability due to a disruption of blood circulation in various areas of the brain. While symptoms are similar to other forms of dementia, there are five little-known facts about the disorder dementia caregivers in Mesa need to know.
1. It’s Not the Same as Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s disease develops when beta-amyloid and tau proteins within the brain increase and clump together, which dislocates and damages neurons. Affected neurons can no longer communicate with each other and other regions of the body normally, which causes an array of symptoms. VaD differs in that memory problems are the result of damage to the brain.
2. It’s Caused By an Injury
Atherosclerosis, stroke or traumatic brain injury narrows or blocks delicate blood vessels in the brain, which interrupts blood circulation and starves neurons. If your loved one is receiving post-stroke care in Mesa and exhibits signs of memory loss, have a doctor evaluate him or her for VaD.
3. There Are Unique Symptoms
The majority of patients experiencing the disorder first have memory problems. They may complain of cloudy or fuzzy thoughts, which manifests as an inability to problem solve. They might have difficulty with word association or performing other cognitive functions. In addition to cognitive problems, VaD patients may display speech or vision abnormalities, varying degrees of imbalance, paralysis or muscle tremors.
4. It’s Relatively Easy to Diagnosis
Examination and testing typically rules out any infections or other medical conditions. Vascular dementia is then diagnosed using MRI imaging with contrast. The test enables physicians to visualize blood flow throughout the brain and identify areas of possible circulation blockage.
5. Treatment Is Available
Within three hours after a stroke, blood clots can be dissolved using blood-thinning medications. Vascular catheterization is sometimes used to physically dissolve or remove clots. Medications can also ease swelling and remove excess fluid. Seniors might need ongoing treatment with anticoagulants, hypertension medications or cholesterol reducing drugs. Occupational, physical and speech therapies are additional treatment options that help restore as much function as possible following a stroke or brain injury.
After a dementia diagnosis, seniors often benefit from having someone care for them at home. Turn to Home Care Assistance of Mesa for help looking after your loved one. We provide comprehensive Alzheimer’s and dementia services that boost cognitive function, delay memory loss, and promote self-esteem and independence. Call us at (480) 699-4899 today to schedule a complimentary in-home consultation.