What is vascular dementia?

Vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia (after Alzheimer's disease). Everyone experiences it differently. Symptoms vary depending on the person, the cause and the areas of the brain that are affected.

Signs and symptoms of vascular dementia

The most common symptoms of vascular dementia during the early stages are:

  • problems with planning or organising, making decisions or solving problems
  • difficulties following a series of steps (such as when cooking a meal)
  • slower speed of thought
  • problems concentrating, including short periods of sudden confusion.

A person in the early stages may also have difficulties with their memory and their language.

Explaining your symptoms to a GP

Print and complete our symptoms checklist. Take it with you when you visit your GP to help describe your symptoms

View our symptoms checklist

Symptoms may develop quickly or more gradually. As vascular dementia progresses, the symptoms get worse and cause problems with everyday living. 

Types of vascular dementia

There are several types of vascular dementia, including:

They are all a result of problems with blood supply to parts of the brain, which then become damaged.

Diagnosing vascular dementia

It’s very important for anyone who has regular problems with their thinking or memory to speak to their doctor.

Dementia is usually diagnosed by a combination of tests with a specialist health professional.

If the symptoms turn out to be dementia, getting an early diagnosis has many benefits.

In the film below, Gina discusses how her diagnosis of vascular dementia has opened the door to getting support.

Causes of vascular dementia

There are many things that increase a person’s chances of developing vascular dementia. For example their age, other health conditions and lifestyle factors.

These are called ‘risk factors’ and it is possible to avoid some of them.

The biggest risk factor for vascular dementia is age and the risk increases once a person gets to 65.

Getting advice and support

If you are worried that you or someone you know may have vascular dementia, arrange an appointment with a doctor.

There are many ways to help someone to live well with vascular dementia.

Dementia Support Line
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