Vascular dementia is also referred to as infarct dementia. This is a condition in which there is an alteration to the intellect, planning, judgment, memory and other brain functions, due to an injury or a damage to the to the brain. This is usually as a result of the impairment of blood flow to the brain. This disorder mostly develops after an obstruction to the flow of blood in the arteries of the brain. Vascular dementia leads to the development of minor strokes, which could lead to the deterioration of the cognitive ability of the brain. There are some factors that increase the risk of developing vascular dementia. Some of these factors include heart diseases, high blood pressure, hypercholesterolemia, smoking and stroke. Putting these factors to check would decrease the chance of having vascular dementia significantly. Some scientists in the stem cell business have come up with a therapy to this disease.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Vascular Dementia?
The presentations of this disease depend on the part of the brain that is affected. Sometimes, the signs and symptoms of this disorder might mimic, and also overlap those of other types of dementia. However, the presentations are usually vivid, especially after a stroke. Also, another typical feature of this disease is that they often present in the form of mini-strokes. Below are some of the symptoms of vascular dementia;
- Confusion: Patients affected by this disease often appear confused. This tends to happen in the later part of the disease.
- Lack of focus and concentration
- Inability to carry out executive functions and properly organize your thoughts.
- They also have a hard time making a decision on what they want to do next.
- They have problems with their memory.
- Depression: This is a feeling of emptiness and hopelessness.
- Unstable gait.
- Restlessness: They are usually restless in their decisions and physically. This is one of the earliest symptoms to be noticed in an individual affected by vascular dementia.
- Poor communicative skills: People affected by this disease have a hard time expressing their thoughts and how they feel. Their communicative skills deteriorate over time.
What Are The Causes Of Vascular Dementia?
Vascular dementia occurs as a result of injuries or damages to the blood vessels in the brain. These injuries lead to the reduction of the amount of blood to the brain cells. This also implies that there would be a reduction in the amount of nutrition and oxygen that gets to the brain cells. Below are some of the conditions that could lead to the development of vascular dementia;
- Obstructed or damaged blood vessels of the brain: There are some factors and conditions that lead to the narrowing or obstruction of the blood vessels of the brain. Some of these factors include hardening of the arteries, deposition of fat particles, and the formation of plaques, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, auto-immune diseases, hemorrhage and so on. The obstruction of the vessels reduces the nutrients and oxygen available for the brain cells to survive on.
- Infarct formation in the brain blood vessels: Infarct occurs when the brain cells die as a result of the lack of oxygen and nutrients. This would lead to vascular dementia. However, there are times when this doesn’t lead to dementia, although they’d still increase the risk of the disease.
- Amyloidopathy: Amyloids are abnormally folded proteins in the brain. The accumulation of the amyloid proteins might lead to the formation of plaques in the walls of the vessels. This might eventually affect the integrity of the vessel walls.
What Are The Risk Factors For Vascular Dementia?
- Age: The risk of having vascular dementia increases as the age of the individual increases. This disease is more prevalent in people above the age of 65. However, there is a significant surge in risk as people attain the age of 80s and above.
- Atherosclerosis: This condition occurs as a result of the accumulation of cholesterol and other particles. These particles usually combine together to form plaques. These plaques usually line the wall of the blood vessels, reducing the flow of blood. Atherosclerosis increases the risk of having vascular dementia primarily because of the reason explained above.
- Hypercholesterolemia: This is a condition in which the body has a higher than normal amount of bad cholesterol in the body. This bad cholesterol is also known as low-density lipoprotein. They increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and also predispose people to develop vascular dementia.
- Past medical history: Individuals with a past medical record of having heart-related diseases such as stroke, heart attack and so on have a high risk of developing vascular dementia. The damage or injury that occurs as a result of stroke significantly predisposes people to the development of vascular dementia.
- Smoking: Cigarette contains a lot of harmful components. Smoking has a negative and destructive effect on the blood vessels. This increases the risk of developing vascular dementia.
- Excess weight: People with a body mass index that is overweight or in the range of obesity, have a high risk of developing vascular dementia.
How Is Vascular Dementia Diagnosed?
There is a specific test to confirm the diagnosis of vascular dementia. However, your physician would make a diagnosis based on the complaints of the patient, and also the signs and symptoms. In addition, the past medical history of the patient is often checked to get a full picture of what’s happening.
How Is It Currently Treated?
The doctor would administer drugs that would reduce the blood pressure and the level of low-density lipoprotein. In addition, they’d also give medications that would break down clots, and also normalize the blood glucose level.
Stem cell therapy and Vascular dementia
Stem cells are unique cells that are capable of differentiating into other types of cells. Stem cells are extracted from the bone marrow of the patient, processed and then passed into the body intravenously. Stem cells have immunomodulatory functions. In addition to this, they’re also capable of repairing and replacing dead cells. Mesenchymal cells are capable of locating damaged parts of the body, where they’d carry out repair functions
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