Vascular dementia (vascular) is a type of dementia that occurs due to damage to brain tissue due to impaired blood flow to the brain. A person with this disease will have difficulty in planning, assessing, remembering something and other thought processes.
Usually, this type of dementia occurs after a stroke. The stroke itself is a critical condition due to impaired blood supply to the brain that makes brain cells begin to die within minutes.
In addition, this type of dementia can also occur due to other conditions that damage blood vessels and reduce circulation, resulting in the brain losing oxygen and essential nutrients.
Vascular Dementia Types
There are several types of Vascular Dementia, namely stroke-related dementia, post-stroke dementia, single-infarction and multi-infarction dementia, subcortical dementia, and mixed dementia. Here’s the explanation:
Vascular dementia is closely related to people with hypertension because the condition increases stroke risk factors. In patients with stroke, blood clots in the brain narrow and clots are found.
Narrowed blood vessels or clots that clog will cause the blood supply to the brain to be cut off. The disconnection of the blood supply results in brain cells being damaged and Vascular Dementia occurring.
Single-infarct and multi-infarct dementia
People who have had a mild stroke one or more times usually have this type of dementia. Although there are not many, the incidence of mild stroke still interferes with the blood supply, so a small portion of brain tissue will be damaged and die.
The area of brain tissue that dies is known as infarction. Sometimes, infarction is present in a part of the brain that is quite important and causes Vascular Dementia. If the one infarction mentioned single infarction, but if more than one is called multi infarction.
Mixed dementia is a type of Vascular Dementia that occurs in conjunction with dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease. About 10% of dementia sufferers have a type of mixed dementia.
There is also Subcortical Dementia which is also commonly known as Binswanger disease. Vascular Dementia is caused by problems with blood vessels deep in the brain and is very small in size.
Problems in the blood vessels in the brain cause the walls of the blood vessels to thicken and stiffen, so that blood flow will be reduced and vascular dementia occurs.
Vascular Dementia Causes
Vascular dementia is a condition of damage to blood vessels in the brain that results in reduced brain function to supply oxygen and nutrients effectively. Damage to blood vessels can be obstruction or rupture of blood vessels.
One of the things that can trigger this condition is a stroke. Strokes that cause blockages in arterial blood vessels can trigger vascular dementia. Sometimes the symptoms of stroke are also not felt and instead increase the risk of vascular dementia.
Some conditions such as premature aging of blood vessels (atherosclerosis), diabetes, bleeding in the brain, aging, and high blood pressure can cause narrowing of blood vessels or result in long-term damage to blood vessels in the brain.
Vascular Dementia Risk Factors
The occurrence of vascular dementia is associated with several risk factors, among others:
- Age. Vascular dementia occurs at the age of 65 and above
- History of stroke. Have a history of stroke before dementia
- Hypertension. The presence of a history of untreated hypertension that triggers vascular disorders
- Obesity. Excessive weight gain increases the risk of various health disorders
- Cholesterol. Increased levels of cholesterol in the blood and triglycerides trigger the occurrence of blood flow barriers in the blood vessels due to the buildup of blood fats.
Vascular Dementia Diagnosis
The doctor will perform an examination to determine the weakness of brain functions such as cognitive disorder, limited activity, and decreased memory. This examination is classified as a neuropsychological examination to assess the level of brain ability.
CT scans and MRI
Examination with CT scan or MRI is done to review the location and severity of brain bleeding due to stroke.
A complete laboratory blood test is used to assess the presence of increased diastolic systolic blood pressure, cholesterol values both of LDL, HDL, and triglycerides, as well as sugar levels in the blood that trigger diabetes mellitus.
Medical history is important for the doctor to see the presence of a history related to the onset of vascular dementia. Other conditions consist of a history of neurological disorders such as seizures, epilepsy, and brain surgery. A history of psychological disorders such as personality disorders, bipolar, schizophrenia, and depression. There is also a history of drug use and poisoning of harmful substances.
The occurrence of dementia in post-stroke can also be assessed from the presence of a family history with the same condition.