Strokes and Dementia – What Are the Links?
When someone is affected by a stroke, the blood flow to the brain is interrupted, which, in turn, causes cells to become damaged or die.
Vascular dementia can also be caused by a stroke. This is when the blood supply to a part of the brain is suddenly cut off.
With most strokes, a blood vessel in the brain becomes narrowed and is blocked by a clot. The clot may have formed in the brain or, if someone has heart disease, it may have formed in the heart and been carried to the brain.
This can then cause a person to experience cognitive impairment such as memory loss and difficulties with thinking, which are common symptoms of dementia.
Almost a quarter of people who have a stroke go on to develop dementia, due to the oxygen being cut off to a part or parts of the brain.
With so many online resources available, it can be confusing to understand the link between strokes and dementia. Our information provides clarity regarding stroke related dementia, what can cause a stroke and help you to understand the modifiable elements which can help to prevent the condition progressing.
Signs of Dementia After a Stroke
Although a stroke can cause vascular dementia, it is not certain that person will develop dementia as a result.
Many people who have problems with their thinking during the weeks and months after a stroke do not develop dementia. Some of these people may improve over time. However, about one in five people go on to develop vascular dementia within six months. For these people, their condition will get worse over time.
The symptoms of post-stroke vascular dementia can depend on which part of the brain has been damaged. For example, damage to the parts of the brain that control thinking and judging, or how a person regulates their emotions causes problems in these areas.
Early symptoms of vascular dementia are:
- Difficulties with concentration.
- Delayed thought processing.
- Difficulty with decision making and problem solving.
- Unable to process simple instructions.
- Changes in emotional wellbeing and mood.
If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the symptoms listed, or you have any other concerns about vascular dementia and strokes or stroke-related dementia or then it’s important to contact a GP for support and guidance.
Support for Those Suffering from Strokes and Dementia
There are many widespread and long-lasting problems caused by a stroke. Although not all people will experience these, it’s good to be aware of the possibilities to ensure the correct care and support is available.
A variety of rehabilitation methods are available for those who have experienced a stroke, as well as working with a multi-disciplinary team who will support recovery and help in regaining as much independence as possible.
For individuals who go on to develop stroke-related dementia, more substantial support may be required as the condition progresses. Many people opt for a facility such as a dementia care home, which can provide 24-hour support. Dementia care homes offer the opportunity to partake in a variety of therapy methods, while being supported by qualified care providers.
Additional Information on Dementia
Interested in learning more about dementia, the support available for those with dementia and how to spot the early signs? We have several informative blogs available on our knowledge hub.