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Vascular Dementia

Any information regarding treatments in this page are provided as a reference only, and are not intended as treatment advice.

The symptoms of Vascular Dementia are identical to those of Alzheimer's Disease. The main difference is that Vascular Dementia is, by definition, the result of cerebrovascular disease (ie. strokes affecting the cerebral cortex and underlying white matter), and there must be clinical evidence of this in order to make this diagnosis.

Only a minority of cases of dementia, perhaps about 15%, can be said to be due to 'pure' Vascular Dementia with no signs of Alzheimer's Disease pathology [ref]. Just as common are cases where there is a mix of Alzheimer's pathology - with characteristic amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the cerebral cortex - and cerebrovascular disease. These cases are referred to as Mixed Dementia . This overlap is not surprising, given that Vascular Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease share many similar risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia and obesity [ref].

Clinically it can be very difficult to tell apart cases of Vascular from Mixed Dementia, or indeed from Alzheimer's Disease. Pure Vascular Dementia will tend to follow a stepwise decline based on the occurrence of progressive strokes, and deficits in some areas of cognition may be more pronounced than others depending on which areas of the brain were more affected by strokes. Ultimately, individuals with this condition pass through the same stages of Mild, Moderate and Severe Dementia as in Alzheimer's Disease.

The treatment of Vascular and Mixed Dementia follows the same principles as for Alzheimer's Disease, though in general the evidence supporting the use of these treatments in Vascular and Mixed Dementia is less robust.


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Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)