Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia in the elderly, but there are up to 100 uniquely defined dementias (many rare), also. Multiple factors may cause cognitive impairment. Dementia can strike individuals with poorly controlled diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease. Additionally, as an individual begins to decline in health increases risk for vascular dementia.

Vascular dementia is caused by a series of small strokes that damage or destroy brain tissue and prevent oxygen from reaching the brain. This is a serious health concern for older adults. High blood pressure is an especially important risk factor, so it is vital to regularly monitor your loved one’s blood pressure level. If it is high, follow your doctor’s recommendations for treatment.

Because strokes occur suddenly, symptoms of vascular dementia may develop unexpectedly or without warning, then remain constant for a period of time and then abruptly become worse. Individuals with vascular dementia may even appear to improve for short intervals, only to get worse after the occurrence of one or more additional strokes. It is also possible for a person to suffer from both vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease simultaneously.

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John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

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