Vascular Dementia

WEEKLY COMMUNICATOR (300 x 100 px) (200 × 100 px) (1)


  • Second most common type of dementia after Alzheimer’s
  • Caused by damage to blood vessels that feed the brain
  • Gradual decline in memory and functioning, characterized by alternating periods of stable symptoms followed by dramatic decline
  • Worsening of symptoms are often due to small strokes
  • Large strokes can cause vision changes or numbness and weakness in one part of the body
  • May be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or Lewy body dementia, in which case the dementia is called “mixed”


  • Symptoms can vary widely depending on where the damaged blood vessels are and how much brain tissue is supplied by them
  • Memory loss may or may not be significant
  • Impaired judgement and planning
  • Declining ability to focus attention
  • Difficulty finding words
  • Delusions
  • Uncontrolled laughing or crying


  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • History of stroke or mini-stroke (TIA)


  • Assessment through review of medical history and medications, observations during the appointment, and interviews with family or close friends
  • Physical and neurological exam, including memory test and depression screen
  • Lab studies, including blood count and glucose, thyroid, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin D levels
  • Possible CT scan of the head, MRI of the brain, and carotid ultrasound


  • Currently there is no cure; research is ongoing
  • Memory medications can lessen the symptoms and improve quality of life
  • Strict adherence to medications for cardiovascular health, including blood pressure medications and statins
  • Engaging in healthy lifestyle activities such as exercise, a Mediterranean diet, new socializations, limiting alcohol, and stopping smoking

More on Dementia


Sundowning is a diagnosis but not a syndrome.

Read More

Agitation and Aggression

Identify the causes of agitation and aggression to help identify appropriate strategies.

Read More

Engagement Activities

Engagement activities stimulate the brain and can lead to relaxation and satisfaction.

Read More

Holidays and Events

Memory disorders can cause a low tolerance for lively settings.

Read More

Devices and Technology

Learn about the different technology available to assist those aging in place.

Read More

Communication Do’s and Don’ts

Proper communication with someone with a memory disorder.

Read More

Fire Safety

Memory impairments increase risk of engaging in fire-risky behavior.

Read More

Driving Conversation

Dr. Edwards discusses how to have a conversation about driving with dementia.

Read More

Driving and Dementia

Memory disorders increase risk of unsafe driving.

Read More

Firearm Safety

Understand the importance of firearm safety and strategies to reduce risk.

Read More