The risk of developing vascular dementia increases with age.

—Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP, FGSA, FAAN


Vascular dementia is a type of dementia linked to issues with blood flow to the brain. It ranks as the second most common type of dementia, occurring in about 15 to 30% of all dementia cases. In this episode, we explore its symptoms, risk factors, and the unique challenges it carries.


Symptoms of vascular dementia can manifest suddenly or gradually over time. Individuals may experience cognitive problems, including poor memory, language difficulties (aphasia), coordination issues (apraxia), and problems recognizing things or people (agnosia). Unlike other dementias, vascular dementia often presents neurological symptoms like exaggerated reflexes, walking imbalance, and muscle weakness.

Risk factors include age, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking, gender, and race. Understanding these factors is crucial in managing and preventing this condition.


Diagnosing vascular dementia requires a comprehensive approach. Healthcare professionals conduct a thorough diagnostic, ruling out other potential causes for symptoms. This includes assessing medical history, medications, risk factors, cognitive screenings, and imaging tests like CT, MRI, and PET scans. Neuropsychological testing may also be employed for a detailed evaluation of cognitive function.


While no specific drugs are FDA-approved for vascular dementia, medications used for Alzheimer’s disease may provide some relief. The primary focus, however, lies in managing cardiovascular problems. Lifestyle changes, including controlling blood pressure, maintaining cholesterol levels, and a healthy weight, play a crucial role.

The prognosis for vascular dementia varies based on individual factors such as age, existing medical conditions, and the nature of cardiovascular issues. While there’s no cure, the goal of treatment is to prevent further damage, manage symptoms, and provide support for both the affected individual and their caregivers.

Get your FREE downloads at from the Blog page that goes with this episode or using the links below.

10 Warning Signs:

Diagnosis Checklist:



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About Melissa:

Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP, FGSA, FAAN. I am a nurse, nurse practitioner, nurse educator and nurse researcher with over 25 years of experience in the aging and long-term care healthcare space. You can visit my website at to learn more about me, how you can work with me directly,
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