Vascular dementia results from conditions that damage your brain's blood vessels, reducing their ability to supply your brain with the amounts of nutrition and oxygen it needs to perform thought processes effectively.
Common conditions that may lead to vascular dementia include:
- Stroke (infarction) blocking a brain artery. Strokes that block a brain artery usually cause a range of symptoms that may include vascular dementia. But some strokes don't cause any noticeable symptoms. These "silent brain infarctions" still increase dementia risk.
With both silent and apparent strokes, the risk of vascular dementia increases with the number of infarctions that occur over time. One type of vascular dementia involving many strokes is called multi-infarct dementia.
- Narrowed or chronically damaged brain blood vessels. Conditions that narrow or inflict long-term damage on your brain blood vessels also can lead to vascular dementia. These conditions include the wear and tear associated with aging; high blood pressure; hardening of the arteries; diabetes; lupus erythematosus; brain hemorrhage; and temporal arteritis
In general, the risk factors for vascular dementia are the same as those for heart disease and stroke. Risk factors for vascular dementia include:
- Increasing age. Your risk for vascular dementia rises as you grow older. The disorder is rare before age 65, and risk rises substantially as you reach your 80s and 90s.
- History of heart attack, strokes or mini strokes. If you've had a heart attack, you may be at increased risk of having blood vessel problems in your brain. The brain damage that occurs with a stroke or a mini stroke (transient ischemic attack) may increase your risk of developing dementia.
- Atherosclerosis. This condition occurs when deposits of cholesterol and other substances (plaques) build up in your arteries and narrow your blood vessels. Atherosclerosis can increase your risk of vascular dementia — and possibly your risk of Alzheimer's disease — by reducing the flow of blood that nourishes your brain.
- High cholesterol. Elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the so-called "bad" cholesterol, are associated with an increased risk of vascular dementia, and possibly with a higher risk of Alzheimer's disease.
- High blood pressure. When your blood pressure's too high, it puts extra stress on blood vessels everywhere in your body, including your brain. This increases the risk of vascular problems in the brain.
- Diabetes. High glucose levels damage blood vessels throughout your body. Damage in brain blood vessels can increase your risk of stroke and vascular dementia.
- Smoking. Smoking directly damages your blood vessels, increasing your risk of atherosclerosis and other circulatory diseases, including vascular dementia.
- Obesity. Being overweight is a well-known risk factor for vascular diseases in general, and therefore, presumably increases your risk of vascular dementia.
- Atrial fibrillation. In this abnormal heart rhythm, the upper chambers of your heart begin to beat rapidly and irregularly, out of coordination with your heart's lower chambers. Atrial fibrillation increases your risk of stroke by leading to poor blood flow to your brain and elsewhere in your body.
Keep your vascular system in good health with the addition of vascutin on a daily basis.