What might cause vascular dementia?

Discussion in 'Researchers, students and professionals' started by Sheila, Oct 6, 2004.

  1. Sheila

    Sheila Registered User

    Oct 23, 2003
    West Sussex
    My Mum also had breast cancer and extensive radio and chemo therapy in her 60's. But she did smoke, ate meat and had a tipple too. Love, She. XX
  2. Sheila

    Sheila Registered User

    Oct 23, 2003
    West Sussex
    Forgot to say she also developed COPD Empysema and was put on inhalers,and steroids, (Prednisolone) quite a while before she developed dementia. Love She. XX
  3. docadam

    docadam Registered User

    Jan 30, 2005

    As a doctor I am supposed to understand these things but the concept of vascular dementia is in some ways becoming murkier. High blood pressure , cholesterol and so -called white matter changes in the brain seen on scans are probably markers of an increased risk for Alzheimers.
    Getting memory problems or other signs of dementia after a stroke are a different matter .
    It is important to be clear what we are talking about - and to recognise that our view of these things is changing
  4. chrissieL

    chrissieL Registered User

    Jun 22, 2005
    Causes of VaD?

    Is it solely due to lifestyle that Vascular dementia occurs?
    My husband was a businessman and his lifestyle included heavy smoking, drinking and eating rich foods for many years. As he suffers from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, poor blood flow from his heart aswell as a shrivelled kidney, I assume these were the sole cause of his mini strokes and therefore the dementia.
    Does this apply to all or has anyone experienced Vascular dementia being diagnosed without these factors?
    I'd be interested to know anyone elses experiences.
  5. Rosalind

    Rosalind Registered User

    Jul 2, 2005
    Don't think it can be only lifestyle. My husband does drink, but doesn't smoke and is not a big eater, and certainly has not had a stressful life - idle and irresponsible, more like. I have asked medics if there is any hereditory factor, as his mother repeated herself constantly and died of a stroke. They have been non committal. My concern was for his four children, as if there was a chance that they were going to start having strokes perhaps they could take aspirin before this happened. He has always been inclined to have high blood pressure, but that's about it.

    I don't think people with V. Dementia or their carers should beat themselves up thinking it was all self induced and could have been prevented.
  6. chrissieL

    chrissieL Registered User

    Jun 22, 2005
    Hi Rosalind,
    My interest was really in the Hearts & Brains Project ( if this is still ongoing) as it seems to be promoting a healthy lifestyle.
    I'm really concerned about the young people out there who are smoking and drinking, taking drugs etc. and the impact this might have on them in later years.
    Perhaps it would be good to impress this upon them aswell as lung disease and cancer.
    I also was quite a heavy smoker and drinker when young ( luckily I stopped both) and I know I didn't listen to anyone, including my best friend, but something must have sunk in somewhere along the way.
  7. Kayla

    Kayla Registered User

    May 14, 2006
    Causes of vascular dementia

    Sheila said that her Mum took Prednisolone steroids. My Mum has taken quite high dosages of this steroid for years to help her Rheumatoid Arthritis. She has tried to reduce the dose from 7.5mg. but nothing else works as well and she reacts badly to other drugs. She has never smoked, rarely drinks, just the occaisonal glass of wine or sherry and has always eaten a reasonable diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables.
    I think the long term use of steroids (25 years) may well be the cause of her vascular dementia as well as her osteoporosis, which has resulted in two fractures in her arms and a broken hip, which landed her in a nursing home.
    She is capable of a lucid conversation and was playing Upwords with me this afternoon. She has lost all sense of time and is living in the past, which causes her to not realise who people are. How can she have a daughter if she is reliving the War years as a teenager herself? She has been very depressed, with floods of tears, as she remembers afresh loved ones who have died or gone away.
    The most disturbing part of her illness are the hallucinations, but sometimes these may bring her some comfort and she is not necessarily afraid of them. My (deceased) father "dives" under the bed when the nurse comes in. She decided to try and "cook the dinner" because "Ray said he'd do it and I don't like his cooking".
    She talks about "playing in our minds" as if she realises that it is all a figment of her imagination. One day she talked about looking down on her life " like a ladder with sixty rungs" and she said that "you can join it anywhere, starting life as a little girl and ending up as an old lady." Although she is struggling to find the right words, I am convinced she is still the same person inside and is probably fed up with with being treated as some one with dementia. Reading about other cases on TP, I'm really not sure that Mum has the same type of illness, because in many ways she is still quite intelligent if she can just find a way to communicate to others.
    Initially, she was in the dementia section of the home but they moved her to the general nursing because her physical needs were greater. The nurses have been surprised at some of the things she has been able to say to them. A lot of people seem to become ill after having treatment for serious diseases, so maybe other drugs are also a factor in vascular dementia.
  8. RFord

    RFord Registered User

    Jun 6, 2006
    Vacular Dementia and Thyroxin

    My 82 year old mother has Vascular Dementia and her lifestyle and diet was fairly healthy - no high blood pressure, no smoking, drinking or excessive stress. Not overweight, no real health problems except...when she was 32 her husband died in an accident, her thyroid went out of kilter and she was put on Thyroxin, which she takes to this day. I wonder....
  9. Sarah Day

    Sarah Day Registered User

    Sep 28, 2004
    Gordon House, London
    More research required

    Unforunately, there has been little research conducted to investigate the link between vascular dementia and other factors such as thyroxin or steroids.

    The Hearts and Brains project is working to improve awareness and services for people with vascular dementia. A great deal of progress has been made but there is still much work to be done. The project board is currently developing a statement of principles which will summarise the Alzheimer's Society position in relation to the needs of people with vascular dementia and therefore how processes and services should be tailored to meet their needs. One of the key recommendations will be the need for further research. Only then will we start to answer some of these questions.
  10. Kayla

    Kayla Registered User

    May 14, 2006
    Would it be possible to devise a simple survey amongst TP members to see if there seem to be any common factors in the development of this disease? Age, whether people have diabetes, heart problems, cancer or arthritis and life styles could all be compared. If we had some idea of the causes, then we could try and find ways of preventing the illness developing in the first place.
    Too late for our loved ones, but maybe it would save some else suffering. Often it is said that keeping the brain active will protect against dementia, but my Mum was always busy with crosswords, word puzzles, gardening and other activities. It would be good to know the causes of vascular dementia.
  11. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Kayla's point about mental activities is well made. My DM, prior to her strokes, earned an OU degree in Mathematics at the age of 80, enjoyed sudoku and could beat me hands down at scrabble. She can STILL beat me at scrabble, but can't remember that it's her turn. She can work out her change due before the shop till has, but she can't remember what she purchased. While use or lose it might be an element in age related memory loss, it's by no means the whole story with regard to dementia.

  12. pescy

    pescy Registered User

    Jun 26, 2006
    Hi there,
    My mum had breast cancer at 45 and was put on Tamoxifen for years.She's never smoked, eats fairly well(or used to) and hasn't got high blood pressure.She started to lose her memory at 55.She has mixed dementia.
  13. lucy 85

    lucy 85 Registered User

    Sep 20, 2006
    stress or trauma?

    my grandad was diagnosed with vascular dementia a year ago and sadly passed away three weeks ago.
    Throughout the whole of his life he was perfectly health, reguarly walking and gardening, and had no nutritional deficencies. he took daily vitamin and cod liver oil supplements, yet this terrible disease somehow got hold of my cherished grandad. dementia, in my case was completely unjustified by any medical contition which may have set it off. all i can guess is that the trauma of his wife battling breast cancer was maybe too much for him to take. fortunately she is perfectly healthy now.
    during the last few months of his lifehe was completely incapable of eating or talking, although there was a glint of his former self in his eyes. dementia is a cruel disease, and i really hope he didnt have any awareness towards the end.

    does anybody else think that stress or trauma has set off dementia in any sufferers?
  14. Helena

    Helena Registered User

    May 24, 2006
    Up until a few years ago my 89 yr old mother was disgustingly healthy if you ignored the severe osteo/rheumatoid arthritis in her thumbs and severe osteoporosis and high blood pressure

    she did eat way too much chocolate and cakes and cream and drunk too much coffee

    she only drank occasionally and never smoked

    however now she certainly drinks and she eats mostly fish , no fresh fruit and veg and too many cakes

    she insists on cooking in Aluminium and has loads of amalgam fillings

    I think VD is simply a combined assault of modern lifes toxins in whatever form be they food , pesticides, chemicals, medicines and their effects on each person combined with the effects of ageing
  15. sunny

    sunny Registered User

    Sep 1, 2006
    Migraine? linked at all.

    I used to suffer very badly from migraine when I was younger, but now I do not have any at all. I was told it was hormones. Does anybody know if there is a link between migraine and dementia? Does having a migraine cause any damage to the brain?
  16. dolly gee

    dolly gee Registered User

    Mar 9, 2007
    Would like to know if ther is a conection with vascula dementia and takeing thyroxin, i have been taking it for nearly twenty years and have high blood presure and have had dementia history with close family members ,my mum and sister.dolly gee
  17. Helena

    Helena Registered User

    May 24, 2006
    The link between Hypothyroid and high Blood Pressure is pretty well established and well known

    Personally I do not think Thyroxine is a good medication as its a synthetic copy but you have to be very lucky to find a doctor who prescribes Armour Natural Thyroid from the USA

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