Although vascular dementia is fairly common in terms of dementia cases, it can be confusing to set each form apart. Since there’s often a lack of understanding, various myths are perceived as reality. It’s important to understand what the true facts are so that you can protect yourself and those you love. Here are some of the most common myths, followed by the fact surrounding these common misconceptions.
Myth #1: Vascular Dementia Is the Same As All Other Forms of Dementia
Until someone is directly affected by a specific form of dementia, it’s often believed that all forms of dementia are the same. Many believe that Alzheimer’s is the same as dementia, meaning vascular dementia is the same as Alzheimer’s.
Fact: The truth is, there are many types of dementia. The term dementia describes a set of symptoms which are associated with various conditions. Dementia itself is not a disease. Unlike Alzheimer’s, where proteins change the structure and chemistry of one’s brain, vascular dementia is caused when inadequate blood reaches the brain. In turn, oxygen is cut off and parts of the brain suffer damage. Although there may be overlapping symptoms, vascular dementia is unique in comparison to others forms of dementia.
Myth #2: Vascular Dementia Isn’t Common
Since Alzheimer’s is such a common term, vascular dementia isn’t used as often. Many believe that vascular dementia is quite rare and, therefore, there’s no need to concern themselves with possible onset.
Fact: Although Alzheimer’s is most certainly the most common form of dementia, vascular dementia still makes up approximately 20 percent of all dementia cases across the globe. In fact, it’s estimated that 1.5 percent of the Western population suffers from vascular dementia. Since this form of dementia is so closely linked to strokes and heart disease, cases are expected to rise in the future. Over two-thirds of the American population is considered to be overweight or obese, which increases the risk of cardiovascular complications.
Myth #3: There’s Nothing You Can Do to Protect Yourself
It’s often believed that you can’t do anything to protect yourself against vascular dementia. It’s true that we still have a lot to discover regarding dementia in general, however, it’s clear that one’s lifestyle plays a role in terms of vascular dementia risk.
Fact: Although the risk of vascular dementia increases with age, there are clear risk factors that are in your control. At this time, doctors believe that approximately 50 percent of vascular dementia cases are caused by hypertension. If you have high blood pressure, you can take action. The same is true for high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and atherosclerosis. If you’re currently a smoker, it’s critical that you quit.
Myth #4: Vascular Dementia Only Creates Mental Symptoms
Since vascular dementia is a form of dementia, it’s often assumed that this condition only affects one’s mental functioning. Although emotional and mental symptoms are the most common and often the most noticeable symptoms, they are not the only issue.
Fact: Vascular dementia causes mental symptoms, such as reduce thinking, confusion, memory issues, and changes in mood, but there are also physical and behavioral symptoms to be aware of. Physically, individuals often experience weakness, tremors, as well as issues with mobility and balance. You may also notice symptoms such as inappropriate laughter, difficulty conducting daily tasks, and getting lost in familiar areas.
Robinson, L, Block, J, Smith, M, and Segal, J. (2015). Vascular Dementia. Help Guide. Retrieved from
Roman, G. (2004). Facts, Myths, and Controversies in Vascular Dementia. Journal of the Neurological Sciences, 226, pp. 49-52. Retrieved from http://profgustavoroman.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Facts-myths-and-controversies-in-vascular-dementia.pdf