Dementia is one of the major causes of disability and dependency among the elderly worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 55 million people currently live with dementia in 2020. The number of cases is expected to increase by 10 million each year.
Vascular dementia (VaD) is the second most common type of dementia after Alzheimer’s Disease, accounting for 15-20% of all dementia cases.
Causes of VaD
VaD develops when there is reduced blood flow to the brain.
This is mostly caused by stroke and cerebrovascular diseases. Diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol levels increase the risk of stroke.
How does VaD affect the brain?
These conditions either directly cause brain damage or affect the health of the blood vessels.
In the latter, the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to neurons (the functional units of the brain) is disrupted, leading to injury and cell death. Consequently, brain structures that are vital for cognitive functions are damaged, leading to cognitive deficits.
How does VaD feel like?
The severity of VaD and the trajectory of cognitive function can vary widely depending on the underlying cause, and the location and extent of brain damage.
Progression of VaD
What happens if one has VaD? Can VaD be reversed?
VaD is a progressive condition, meaning that the condition gradually worsens with time. Typically, VaD patients experience a stepwise pattern of cognitive decline: their abilities deteriorate after a stroke, then stabilize. Further deterioration can occur following subsequent strokes.
While VaD is a progressive condition, prompt management and interventions can not only help to prevent further damage but also slow the disease progression.
Treatment of VaD
The treatment of VaD is often focused on managing cognitive symptoms and controlling underlying medical conditions.
- ESymptomatic improvement: Medications such as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChE-Is) and memantine are typically used to treat Alzheimer’s, but they may be used for the treatment of VaD too.
- EControl underlying medical conditions: Medicines that control diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol levels to reduce the risk of stroke may also be prescribed.
There is currently no available treatment to repair the damage that causes vascular dementia. CognivAiD employs a novel approach to target the root causes of VaD. Speak with your healthcare profesisonal today to find out what might work best for you.