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Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Differences

Alzheimer’s disease and Vascular dementia

A diagnosis of mixed dementia means that Alzheimer’s disease, as well as stroke or small vessel disease, may have caused damage to the brain.

Features of vascular dementia may be similar to Alzheimer’s disease but depending on the type of vascular dementia, may appear in a different pattern. Vascular dementia affects different people in different ways and the speed of progression varies from person to person. Some symptoms may be similar to those of other types of dementia but may include symptoms associated with strokes, such as physical weakness. The onset may be sudden and progress in steps, whereby an individual’s condition may remain constant and then suddenly deteriorate following an infarct. In addition to features associated with dementia generally, a person with vascular dementia may experience epileptic seizures and periods of acute confusion.

Factors associated with an increased risk of developing vascular dementia include family history of vascular disease, medical history of stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes (type 2), cardiac problems and sleep apnoea.

Protection from vascular dementia can be increased by adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes a reduced fat diet, not smoking, moderate alcohol intake and seeking treatment for high blood pressure and diabetes. Men and people from Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Sri Lankan and Afro-Caribbean backgrounds are at higher risk of developing vascular dementia than other groups.

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