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Blood Vessel Damage and Brain Health

Vascular dementia refers to changes to memory, thinking, and behavior resulting from conditions that cause damage to blood vessels in the brain. The brains of people with vascular dementia often show evidence of prior strokes, thickening blood vessel walls, and thinning white matter — the brain’s connecting “wires” that relay messages between regions.

Researchers are investigating how these changes in the brain — and their underlying causes — are involved in the onset and progression of dementia. For example, research has shown a strong link between cardiovascular disease (conditions of the heart and blood vessels) and cerebrovascular disease (conditions that affect blood flow to the brain) to the development of cognitive impairment and dementia.

Because there may be many underlying causes of vascular dementia, there may not be one treatment for all. However, some studies suggest that medication and lifestyle changes that reduce your risk for stroke may help.

Learn more about vascular dementia and how to lower your risk.

Published by Chrishun Brown

Communications Manager for the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center

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