Vascular dementia (VaD) is the second most common form of dementia
disease (AD). It's caused by damage to brain tissue, which
occurs because of decreased blood flow. Blood flow to brain tissue may
be completely blocked by a clot in a blood vessel, or blood flow may
be decreased but not completely blocked by a partial blockage in blood
vessels in the brain.
VaD may develop gradually, or it may become apparent after a stroke
or after undergoing major surgery, such as heart bypass surgery or
Facts about vascular dementia
and other related diseases and conditions are difficult to distinguish
because they share similar signs and symptoms. Although vascular
dementia is caused by problems with blood flow to the brain, this
blood flow problem can happen in different ways. So, different types
of VaD are based on how each type occurs:
Mixed dementia. In some cases, symptoms of both VaD and AD
exist. When mixed dementia occurs, however, it is generally
considered to be a form of dementia with some characteristics of AD,
rather than a case of AD with characteristics of vascular
Multi-infarct dementia. This occurs after several small,
often "silent," blockages repeatedly affect blood flow to
a certain area of the brain. The changes that occur after each
blockage may not be apparent, but over time, the combined effect
begins to cause symptoms of impairment. Multi-infarct dementia is
also called vascular cognitive impairment.
Men, especially those younger than 75, are affected by vascular
dementia more often than women.
Researchers think that VaD will become more common in the next few
VaD is generally caused by conditions that occur most often in
older people, such as atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries),
heart disease, and stroke.
The number of people older than
65 years is increasing.
People are living longer with
chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.