The second most common cause of dementia is cerebrovascular disease. Age, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, elevated cholesterol levels, obesity and an unhealthy diet lead to thickening or hardening of the brain arteries which can decrease blood flow to the brain and cause large or small strokes. This type of dementia disease accounts for 20-30 % of cases.
The early stage of this disorder is currently referred to as vascular cognitive impairment (VCI). When caught in this stage brain deterioration can be stopped before advancing to vascular dementia. Persons with VCI display slowness of thought, difficulty with planning, memory loss trouble with language and mood and behavior changes. These are warning signs and need immediate attention. Lifestyle changes and control of blood pressure may prevent any more damage and prevent vascular dementia. It is highly recommended to loose weight, stop smoking and eat a healthy diet.
If VCI proceeds to vascular dementia it cannot be stopped only slowed down. The most common cause of vascular dementia is narrowing and blockage of small blood vessels. Persistent high blood pressure is considered to paly a major role.
Vascular dementia is more common in men who under the age of 75. It is also more prevalent among Asian and Black Caribbean populations, as these populations are more susceptible to having high blood pressure.
The guidelines for diagnosing dementia caused by vascular changes are below: