Sometimes, early warning signs are challenging to recognize. The truth is, you can never be too safe if you’re concerned that something isn’t right. Pay attention to your body and recognize when things appear to be abnormal. The faster you’re diagnosed, the greater your options are in terms of an action plan to try and slow the progression of your symptoms.
Early Symptoms of Vascular Dementia
Each case varies, however, there are some common early signs that give clues into the potential onset of vascular dementia. In the earliest stages, symptoms are generally referred to as vascular cognitive impairment. These early symptoms include:
- Reduced rate of thought and thinking patterns
- Struggling to plan
- Experiencing issues regarding language and communication
- Lack of focus and attention
- Changes in mood
These symptoms can be so mild, that some mistaken their condition for something unrelated, such as depression. Since these symptoms may indicate that damage has already occurred, immediate treatment is highly recommended.
More Advanced Symptoms of Vascular Dementia
If the individual’s brain continues to suffer from damage, symptoms will worsen rapidly. When this occurs, performing regular daily tasks can become increasingly challenging. When symptoms are at their worst, they are typically followed by periods of stability. In some cases, this period can last for years. With that being said, these periods are unpredictable and every case varies.
The symptoms that surface will depend on what area of the brain has been affected. Since symptoms reflect damaged parts within the brain itself, the underlying cause of one’s vascular dementia can reflect varying degrees of symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms within the advanced stages include:
- A reduction in thought processing
- Becoming increasingly confused
- Lack of concentration
- Noticeable memory loss
- Changes in personality
- Mood swings and depression
- Significant difficulties communicating
- Lack of balance and coordination
- Delusions, hallucinations, and/or paranoia
In some cases, individuals with vascular dementia also display signs of Alzheimer’s. In fact, it’s possible for individuals to suffer from mixed dementia, meaning they develop more than one type of dementia at a time. In this case, some individuals display blood vessel issues in the brain relating to vascular dementia, while also displaying protein deposits that are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s.
NHS Choices. (2015). Vascular Dementia. National Health Service. Retrieved from http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vascular-dementia/Pages/Symptoms.aspx