Vascular (or multi-infarct) dementia refers to a decline in a
person's mental abilities that results from a series of strokes. A stroke
occurs when blood flow to part of the brain is blocked, cutting off the blood
supply to the brain.
Vascular dementia often progresses step by step, with declines in
memory and mental functions occurring each time another stroke occurs. The
specific symptoms a person has depend on which area of the brain the strokes
have affected. Not all strokes cause symptoms.
Vascular dementia is often associated with hardening of the
arteries (atherosclerosis) caused by high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or
diabetes. A person can reduce the risk of future strokes by controlling high
blood pressure, reducing cholesterol, quitting smoking, and taking aspirin and
other drugs used to treat these conditions.
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Peter J. Whitehouse, MD - Neurology
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