Vascular dementia: what is it and what are the signs? Although many people associate Alzheimer’s with dementia, there are several forms of the condition and each has its own symptoms and causes. The different forms of dementia can also progress in different ways. Vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease, affecting approximately 150,000 people in the UK, according to figures from the Alzheimer’s Society. In simple terms, vascular dementia is caused by reduced blood flow to the brain, as a result of diseased blood vessels. This reduction in the blood supply means that brain cells die and this in turn causes problems with memory, thinking or reasoning. As the Express recently pointed out, people suffering from vascular dementia often have difficulty completing basic tasks, especially any that are associated with memory. The kitchen is often one of the places in the home that these issues become apparent first. The newspaper explained that people with the early stages of vascular dementia may find it difficult to follow the series of steps necessary to prepare a meal. There is also the possibility that they will begin making food only to forget, or that they could leave a hob or other appliance on after they’ve finished using it. Other early signs of this form of dementia, as identified by the Alzheimer’s Society, include problems with planning or organising, difficulty concentrating and slower speed of thought. The organisation also noted that speech may become less fluent and the person might have problems with their visuospatial skills, which relate to perceiving objects in three dimensions. “As well as these cognitive symptoms, it is common for someone with early vascular dementia to experience mood changes, such as apathy, depression or anxiety,” the charity explained. It added that depression is particularly common, because those with vascular dementia may be aware of the difficulties they face in relation to the condition. The disease can progress in different ways, which is often due to how the condition began. If vascular dementia is brought on by a stroke, for instance, then people will often find their symptoms remain stable for long periods of time. However, if they suffer another stroke, this can lead to a period of significant decline. Those who have subcortical vascular dementia, meanwhile, will experience a more gradual decline. They will need help with many day to day activities, and as the disease progresses are likely to need assistance with feeding themselves and will struggle to walk as they become increasingly frail. Once a loved one progresses beyond the early stages of the disease, you may need some help looking after them. Seeking out specialist dementia care in West Sussex is advisable, as this means you’ll have support from professionals who understand what problems vascular dementia causes. They’ll also be sympathetic to your relative’s needs, including any sudden mood swings or changes in behaviour they may experience. There is a lot of support available to help people with vascular dementia live well in the UK. Among the most important things to do, particularly in the early stages after diagnosis, are to help people keep up with the activities they enjoy and to provide them with support to cope with the abilities they have lost. To read more about our dementia services, click here. We also have two specialist dementia care homes: Haviland House and Linfield House. You also get in touch with our friendly Customer Service Team on 01903 327327 or [email protected].