Vascular dementia is a term used to describe a condition which is characterized by gradual decline in the ability to think, which is attributed to poor blood flow to the cells of the brain. Inadequate blood supply to the cells of brain, eventually result in death of the cells.
As per epidemiological reports, vascular dementia is the second most common cause for dementia (memory loss) after Alzheimer’s disease, which accounts to about 25 to 30% of all dementia patients. Vascular dementia may often coexist with Alzheimer’s disease; however in most cases the condition remains undiagnosed.
Symptoms Of Vascular Dementia
The symptoms of vascular dementia may remain varied and depend upon the extent to which the brain cells are deprived of oxygen and nutrients. The symptoms also depend upon the specific area within the brain which is affected.
Usually symptoms of vascular dementia appear after an episode of stroke and the key symptoms include confusion, trouble in understanding speech or speaking, loss of vision and disorientation. These symptoms usually co-exist with symptoms of stroke which include sudden headache, paralysis or numbness of one side of the body and difficulty in walking.
In some cases, multiple small strokes, with no apparent symptoms, may gradually damage the brain cells resulting in insidious onset of dementia. The early symptoms in this case include impaired judgment, uncontrolled behavior like excessive crying or laughing, reduced ability to concentrate, impaired functions during social interactions and difficulty to find words.
How To Diagnose Vascular Dementia?
In most cases, vascular dementia goes unrecognized and hence experts recommend intermittent screening to test memory, thinking ability and reasoning abilities among high risk group. In addition, screening for hypertension, cardiovascular disorders and high cholesterol is also recommended among the elderly.
An evaluation of vascular dementia is usually based on medical history and clinical evaluation. Presence of family history or inability to perform routine functions can be indicative of the disorder. In addition neurological examination of reflexes, coordination and senses can help understand the state of the brain.
Brain imaging using CT scan or MRI scan can be useful in cases of recent episodes of stroke or to rationalize the causes of cognitive decline.
Home Remedies For Vascular Dementia
Dementia is a progressive disorder and home remedies and natural treatment can only help to reduce the rapid progression of the disease. Some of the home remedies include the following,
- Include onion and garlic in the regular diet. These foods act as natural blood thinners and hence reduce the possibility of recurrent episodes of small strokes within the brain.
- Keeping the brain active is very important. While there is no rationale to this theory, solving cross word puzzles, reading or surfing the internet can improve cognitive functions and memory. This technique can be beneficial during the initial phases of onset of dementia.
- A healthy diet is very important to improve vascular circulation. Include fresh green leafy vegetables in the diet. Avoid processed and synthetic food. Use olive oil instead of other hydrogenated saturated oils.
- Lifestyle changes like restricting the intake of alcohol, stopping smoking and regular moderate exercise can help circulation of blood and prevent vascular dementia.
- Homeopathic remedies like Aurum Met are considered useful in improving collateral circulation to the brain cells, thereby reducing the chances of subsequent episodes of stroke.
Family support and peer group interaction plays a very vital role in dealing with dementia, especially among the elderly age group.