Vascular Dementia


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Vascular Dementia

  1. 1. Vascular Dementia
  2. 2. Vascular Dementia Patient and Family InformationWe have written this pamphlet to help you and yourfamily learn more about vascular dementia.What is vascular dementia?• It is the decline in a person’s ability to remember things in the present and in the past.• People with this condition may have problems with speech, judgement, attention span, or other daily functions.• It can interfere with people’s ability to care for themselves and to do daily activities.• It is reported to be second to Alzheimer Disease as the leading cause of dementia in older people.• It is sometimes confused with Alzheimer Disease but they are different conditions with different causes.What causes vascular dementia?• A stroke (blood clot) in a vital area of the brain• Several small strokes in the brain• Narrowing of the blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the brain• Bleeding on or inside the brain 1
  3. 3. What are the risk factors for vasculardementia?• Smoking• High blood pressure• High blood cholesterol• Previous strokes• Heart disease• Lack of exercise• Diabetes• Being overweightHow does my doctor know I have vasculardementia?• Your doctor probably sent you for some tests and X- rays of your brain.• The results of these tests, along with your medical history and symptoms, may help the doctor decide what caused your condition.What are the symptoms ?• Memory loss• Confusion• Speech problems• Personality changes• Less interest in social activities• Less able to take care of self• Trouble sleeping• Difficulty with balance and walking 2
  4. 4. • Emotional instability (sudden episodes of laughing or crying for no apparent reason)• Problems with controlling the bladder• Difficulty moving certain parts of the body• Depression• AnxietyA person with vascular dementia may not have all ofthese symptoms.The symptoms will vary depending on what part ofthe brain was injured.Is there any treatment or cure?There is no known cure for vascular dementia. The goal isto control the symptoms.Treatment may include:• medications to prevent further strokes• controlling your risk factors• medications to help with depression, anxiety and mood swings• cholinesterase inhibitors to treat memory problemsWhat can family members do to help?• Keep a consistent daily routine for the person.• Have lots of familiar objects around for the person to see and use such as pictures or a favorite chair.• Encourage daily exercise and provide supervision as needed. 3
  5. 5. • Social stimulation is important. Remember to keep activities simple.• Make the home a safe place by using things like night- lights in the hallways and safety bars in the washroom.• Help the person to remember to take his/her medications on time.• Help the person to stay healthy by going to the doctor for regular check-ups.• Make sure the person eats plenty of healthy foods and drinks enough liquids.• Support the person in staying independent for as long as possible.• Help the person keep appointments.• Have a family discussion about future plans.• Join a support group for family members.• Give lots of emotional support to the person as well as other family members.• Remember it is very important to take care of your self as well.• Early in the disease, seek legal advice and arrange for an enduring power of attorney to be drawn up. 4
  6. 6. Looking for more information on this topic? Contact your local public library for books, videos, magazine articles and online health information. For a list of public libraries in Nova Scotia go to HTTP:// Capital Health promotes a smoke-free and scent-free environment. Please do not use perfumed products. Thank you! Capital Health, Nova Scotia Prepared by: Geriatric Day Hospital, QEII, HalifaxIllustrations by: Pages 2 & 3-LifeART Health Care 1 Images, Copyright © 1994, TechPool Studios Corp. USA Designed and Printed by: QEII Audio Visual and Printing DepartmentsWT85-0097 Rev.04/2004