Vascular dementia: How do you feel at night? You could be at risk of brain decline

Alzheimer's Society explains what vascular dementia is

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

The Alzheimer’s Society (AS) says sometimes a person with dementia will behave in ways that are difficult to understand in the late afternoon or early evening. The organisation explains: “During this time the person may become intensely distressed, agitated and have hallucinations or delusions. This may continue into the night, making it hard for them to get enough sleep.”

The AS says sundowning can happen at any stage of dementia but is more common during the middle stage and later stages.

The charity says it is not exactly clear why sundowning happens.

Nonetheless, the AS says it is possible that a range of different causes makes it more likely.

These might include tiredness, hunger, pain, overstimulation, tiredness in other people causing the person with dementia to become upset or anxiety or depression.

The AS also explains sometimes what seems like sundowning could be the person trying to communicate a need.

This could be needing the toilet, feeling hungry or being in pain, it adds.

Johns Hopkins University says the symptoms of vascular dementia depend on the location and amount of brain tissue involved.

It says these are signs and symptoms of vascular dementia

  • Increased trouble carrying out normal daily activities because of problems with concentration, communication, or inability to carry out instructions
  • Memory problems, although short-term memory may not be affected
  • Confusion, which may increase at night (known as “sundown syndrome”)
  • Stroke symptoms, such as sudden weakness and trouble with speech
  • Personality changes
  • Mood changes, such as depression or irritability
  • Stride changes when walking too fast, shuffling steps
  • Problems with movement and/or balance
  • Urinary problems, such as urgency or incontinence
  • Tremors.

The NHS advises people to see a GP if they think they have early symptoms of dementia, especially if you’re over 65 years of age.

If it’s found at an early stage, treatment may be able to stop vascular dementia getting worse, or at least slow it down.

It says: “There’s currently no cure for vascular dementia and there’s no way to reverse any loss of brain cells that happened before the condition was diagnosed.”

Though the health body says treatment aims to tackle the underlying cause, which may reduce the speed at which brain cells are lost.

The NHS says: “Vascular dementia will usually get worse over time. This can happen in sudden steps, with periods in between where the symptoms do not change much, but it’s difficult to predict when this will happen.”

The AS says at least 10 percent of people with dementia are diagnosed with mixed dementia.

It explains that how long someone will live with vascular dementia varies greatly from person to person.

On average it will be about five years after the symptoms started, the organisation says.

The NHS advice if you are worried about someone else, encourage them to make an appointment with a GP and perhaps suggest that you go with them.

“Your GP can do some simple checks to try to find the cause of your symptoms. They can refer you to a memory clinic or another specialist for further tests if needed,” the health body says.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, the NHS and social services, as well as voluntary organisations, can provide advice and support for you and your family, it adds.

Source: Read Full Article