Diagnosis Vascular Dementia (Multi Infarct Dementia) - What You Need to Know

Vascular dementia (VaD) or multi infarct dementia is the result of multiple very small strokes also called transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), a major stroke or an impaired cardio vascular system that prevents adequate blood flow to the brain. In all these cases, brain cells are killed.

It may seem that symptoms come on gradually in the situation where the person is experiencing many TIAs. Symptoms may come on rapidly as the result of major stroke.

Your family member's abilities can be expected to decline in a stair step manner: declining, stabilizing for a while and experiencing another decline as his condition gradually worsens.

A person suffering from VaD may suffer from memory problems including forgetfulness, lack of concentration, problems handling money, poor judgment and difficult following instructions. They may also have slurred speech or language problems and suffer from physical symptoms such as dizziness, leg or arm weakness and incontinence. They may have mood swings, laugh or cry at inappropriate times and have a tendency to wander or get lost in familiar surroundings.

There are no treatments that can restore brain cells. Treatment focuses preventing further TIAs or strokes and usually includes medication to control blood pressure and blood thinners to prevent blood clots.

Things to consider when faced with a diagnosis of vascular dementia or multi infarct dementia

  1. Preventing further TIAs or strokes must be a priority. Your family member's blood pressure should be monitored closely to measure the effectiveness of their drug treatments.
  2. Protect your family member from financial abuse and reckless spending by monitoring their spending and bank accounts for unusual activity.
  3. Since your family member's ability to function may decline rapidly due to another set of TIAs or a stroke, research and plan what you will do if his care needs increased suddenly.
  4. Make sure your family member stays active by participating in activities that are mentally and socially stimulating and encourage him to finish any needed physical therapy resulting from his stroke.


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