What is vascular dementia?

(ABC 6 News) – According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 55 million people are believed to be living with dementia.

We are now learning, vascular diseases contribute to approximately a quarter of all diagnoses.

When blood vessels are damaged or blocked, it can deprive the brain of vital oxygen and nutrients. This could lead to a condition called vascular dementia.

Symptoms include problems with reasoning, planning, judgement, memory and other thought processes.

“High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, obesity and sleep apnea — these are the modifiable risk factors that, if untreated, can cause wear and tear on the small blood vessels in the brain over time,” said Dr. Stephen English, a Mayo Clinic neurologist.

Doctors say lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol, treating sleep apnea and quitting smoking can all help lower your risk of suffering from vascular dementia.