Unmasking the Causes of Vascular Dementia

Cause 2. Small Vessel Disease – The Silent Assailant in Vascular Dementia

Small Vessel Disease – The Silent Assailant in Vascular Dementia

Often underestimated, small vessel disease is a condition where the minute blood vessels deep within the brain undergo damage and deterioration. These small vessels play a pivotal role in delivering oxygen and nutrients to the brain cells. When they get damaged, it hampers this vital supply, leading to gradual brain cell death and increasing the risk of developing vascular dementia.

It’s essential to understand the insidious nature of small vessel disease. In its early stages, it may not cause any noticeable symptoms. A person might feel completely healthy while this silent assailant wreaks havoc within their brain.

Over time, however, as the disease progresses and the damage accrues, cognitive issues may begin to surface. The individual might start experiencing issues with thinking, planning, memory, and other cognitive abilities.

The condition can be diagnosed via imaging techniques such as MRI or CT scans, which can show signs of damage or changes in the small vessels of the brain. The risk factors for small vessel disease largely overlap with those of other cardiovascular conditions.

These include high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol levels, smoking, and aging. Hence, maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle can play a key role in preventing or delaying the onset of vascular dementia caused by small vessel disease. (2)

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