Vascular dementia is just one of over 100 different forms of dementia and it is the second most common in the UK.
A diagnosis of vascular dementia can feel overwhelming, especially if it’s the first time you have heard the term. Keep reading to find out more about what vascular dementia is, the signs of vascular dementia, and the stages of vascular dementia.
Vascular Dementia is a form of dementia caused by a shortage or restriction of blood supply reaching the brain which is why it is commonly associated with those who have experienced a stroke (most often referred to as post-stroke dementia) but it’s important to note that it’s not always the case that an individual that has had a stroke will develop vascular dementia.
For the most part, vascular dementia is not hereditary. It is the underlying health conditions that lend themselves to vascular dementia which is hereditary. These health conditions that are closely linked to patients with vascular dementia include high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity.
At present, there is no cure for vascular dementia but there are ways of managing the disease. Leading a healthy lifestyle is a simple way to prevent vascular dementia. Vascular dementia care is an option available if the individual has already been diagnosed to ensure their health and wellbeing.
Primarily addressed through lifestyle changes and various forms of physiotherapy, vascular dementia care is fundamentally focused on providing individuals with ways in which their symptoms and side effects can be managed.
Many of the signs and symptoms of vascular dementia are similar to those of other forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease, particularly because memory loss is the most common factor as a result of the brain being starved of oxygen.
• Poor/Decreased judgment
• Difficulty planning
• Slow thought process
• Unsteady gait
• Changes to urinary habits
Each person is different when it comes to how they are affected by dementia as it depends on the underlying causes. Vascular dementia does gradually get worse and usually progresses through stages as with other forms of dementia.
There are 7 stages of the general dementia process, which are:
This is the early stages where there are no apparent symptoms but there are underlying issues that could be risk factors.
This is when the disease is very mild and there are only some indicators to dementia. This includes forgetfulness which many would associate with the typical ageing process.
In this stage, many people start to see the more common symptoms of dementia start to appear. The forgetfulness becomes more than what the average person would consider part of the ageing process; there may be a decrease in ability to complete day-to-day tasks, problems with speech and/or repetition.
Individuals may find it harder to complete their usual tasks at this stage of the dementia process. Struggling to remember what they have done throughout the day or indeed what they had for breakfast. This is when the symptoms become more clear to family and friends and the condition is more likely to be successfully diagnosed as dementia by a doctor. This stage usually lasts around 2 years.
At this stage, individuals may begin to forget facts that may have previously come as second nature, such as forgetting their phone number or their home address. Individuals may also begin to forget familiar faces during the moderate-severe decline stage.
Individuals in this stage begin to need more assistance with carrying out their daily tasks such as cleaning and toileting. Speech becomes more difficult for individuals during this stage due to increased anxiety from confusion and along with slurring and remembering the correct words. This is the stage where home care may be beneficial to help the individual continue to live as independently as possible.
Due to the progression of the disease, individuals lose their ability to speak and may experience a lack of ability to make facial expressions during the final stage. Individuals with dementia at this stage require assistance with all aspects of their care from eating to walking, the individuals may also experience weight loss due to swallowing becoming more difficult.
It’s important to note that this is the general progression of dementia, the experience and speed of progression may differ between individuals. There may also be some overlap between the stages.
If you or a family member has recently received a diagnosis of vascular dementia, My Care My Home are specialists in providing vascular dementia care. If you have received a formal diagnosis of dementia, the first step to understanding the level of care required is to undergo a care needs and capacity assessment.
There are a number of options available when it comes to care, My Care My Home provides home care services in Wigan, Bolton, Bury, Wirral, and South Wales, but if you are outside of our service areas, we are able to source a selection of condition-led care services or respite care for those caring for family members.