Dementia means that it is difficult to remember and think in various ways, and to interpret one’s surroundings. You may then need to undergo a dementia study and if you are ill there is a lot of support to be had. Blood vessel dementia is caused by interfering with the blood flow to the brain so that parts of the brain do not get enough nutrition and oxygen.
Other dementia diseases are Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy Body dementia, and head lobe dementia.
Common symptoms of blood vessel dementia
If you get blood vessel dementia, the disease can come quickly, even though the reason behind it may have been around for a long time. It may take a month before you notice the symptoms that are caused by the blood flow to the brain being impaired. The disease often develops gradually, the condition can be stable for a few months and then rapidly deteriorate. The symptoms can also come after a stroke.
The disease affects different people in different ways. Some can have the disease without getting worse for several years, while others quickly get sicker over the course of a few years.
Several different symptoms of blood vessel dementia
If you have blood vessel dementia you can get symptoms like
- memory problems
- impaired perception, for example, impaired ability to interpret feelings and visual impressions
impaired ability to think
- impaired linguistic ability – for example, you can find it difficult to find and pronounce words and therefore become increasingly silent
- slower movements – it is common that you need a long time for different movements and to form a thought for an initiative and for an action
- impaired judgment, impaired concentration, sometimes aggression
- hallucinations, delusions, you can see or hear things that are not in reality
- bodily discomfort – one may feel stiff or weak on one side of the body and have problems with balance.
The problems you get depend on which part of the brain has been damaged. In the middle temporal lobe is the memory center, while the brain lobe is responsible for the analysis of the information from the senses. If both of these parts are damaged, it becomes difficult to manage yourself and needs help in planning and arranging everyday life.
Judgment, insight, concentration, and speech are governed from the forehead lobby. If that part of the brain is damaged, you may need a lot of help and care. For example, aggressiveness and irritation can be difficult to control.
Everyday life is often difficult
If you have blood vessel dementia, you can often find it difficult to manage your bills, read the newspaper, follow a TV program and, at all, take care of anything in practical life. Sometimes you get hallucinations. Later in the disease, you may have difficulty washing, dressing and eating yourself. It is becoming increasingly difficult to interpret their own body signals.
Confusion – extreme stress on the brain
It is quite common for blood vessel dementia to end up in temporary periods of confusion, which can be from hours to days, mixed with relatively clear periods. When the brain is exposed to some kind of extreme stress, such as stress or temporary oxygen deficiency, the brain’s normal way of functioning can be disturbed. You get into a state of confusion that amplifies the symptoms you already have. It becomes even more difficult to think clearly, to speak, to understand and to cope with daily life. Night can be turned into day and you have trouble concentrating on doing one thing at a time. It is common to just walk around and pick among their stuff or talk incoherently.
The state of confusion develops in a short time, from a few hours to days, and you can get better and worse several times in one day.
A person with blood vessel dementia can thus be further deteriorated in a state of confusion. If the symptoms do not recede within 24 hours, you should contact a doctor, as you may have a new illness that causes confusion. An infection, some drugs, pain, blood pressure drop can also be behind. A state of confusion can also be caused by major changes in life, such as a change of home.
How can I prevent the disease?
There are certain diseases and ways of life that increase the risk of you getting blood vessel dementia. High blood pressure, for example, is a risk factor. Therefore, the risk of getting the disease can be reduced if you are already in middle age getting treatment for high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases that affect the brain vessels.
Large amounts of alcohol and smoking for a long time can damage brain cells and impair brain functions. In some situations, it may be important to avoid hypotension, for example, if you are older and need surgery. Therefore, if you have memory problems, tell them about it before an operation.
When and where should I seek care?
If you feel confused, have difficulty thinking or have memory disorders for more than a month, you should contact a health care center. It is important to find out what the problems are because they can have causes that can be treated, such as depression or low metabolism.
In order for you or your relatives to find out how you feel, you can consider three questions:
- Is my memory as good as before so that daily life works?
- Does my ability to solve problems, think, reason and plan work?
- Has my mood and mood changed?
If the answers to any of these questions indicate that you are not feeling well, you should be examined by a doctor and possibly have a dementia study showing whether you have any dementia.
You can seek care at any healthcare center you want throughout the country. You also have the opportunity to have a regular doctor’s contact at the health center.
When you come to the doctor, you yourself or a relative must first tell you about the problems you have, in order for the doctor to understand what the symptoms are and how they have changed. Then you have to go through several different steps:
- First, the entire body is carefully examined. The doctor pays special attention to the brain. Memory functions, thought functions, vision, language and perception functions are tested. Signs that you have limited brain damage indicate blood vessel dementia.
- Simple blood tests are taken to check metabolism and to check if you may have upset levels of vitamin B12 or lime. Low metabolism, lack of vitamin B12 as well as high levels of lime, can impair brain functions.
- Often, a magnetic camera examination or layer X-ray of the brain, so-called computed tomography, is also performed. In typical blood vessel dementia, these studies show evidence that impaired blood circulation has damaged the brain.
- Sometimes the fluid that surrounds and protects the brain is also examined. This fluid is also found in the spinal cord in the spine. A sample is taken through a stick at the back end. The test reveals if there are proteins that have leaked from damaged nerve cells.
If the diagnosis is unclear or uncertain, further investigations are done. For example, psychologists can use different test methods to provide evidence for impaired brain functions.
The doctor determines the diagnosis
The doctor then weighs all the results together and determines if it is blood vessel dementia that you have received. What often speaks of blood vessel dementia is that
- The trouble develops in stages
- The damage is limited to certain areas of the brain, which is because the blood flow has decreased to the damaged areas.
An important part of the investigation is the mapping of what you can do both intellectually and physically. This is important for the continued planning of everyday life and for the assessment of how much support you need.
A right to receive information
You will need to know who to contact and when to find out the answers after sampling and surveys. You should also find out where to turn if you get worse.
The healthcare staff should tell you what treatment options are available. They should make sure you understand what the different options mean, what side effects are available and where you can get treatment. This way you can help decide which treatment is right for you.
In order for you to be active in your care and make decisions, it is important that you understand the information you receive. The healthcare staff is obliged to make sure that you do so. Ask questions. You can also ask to have the information written down so you can read it peacefully.
Treatment for blood vessel dementia
You cannot relieve the symptoms of blood vessel dementia yourself. Some people who have the disease together with their relatives develop a special way of living to facilitate everyday life together. It can be a life of clear and recurring routines. Good social interaction is also important to maintain.
There are ways, for example, to compensate for bad memory. One way is to take a long time when trying to encapsulate something in memory and to use memory words, support words, to remember what you have learned. It is important that you can concentrate on the task and not be disturbed in the meantime. But memory training often produces limited results. For example, if you train the memory for phone numbers, you’ll be fine with that, but may still have the same difficulty remembering names and faces.
What you eat matters
Eating one-sided or poorly composed diets can cause vitamin deficiency that can damage brain cells. This, in turn, can lead to poor memory or other health problems. Alcohol in large amounts over a long period of time is a well-known cause of brain damage and memory problems.
No anti-dementia drugs
There are currently no registered drugs for blood vessel dementia.
If you have high blood pressure or high blood fats you should get treatment for it, to prevent you from getting worse circulation to the brain. You should avoid smoking, as smoking negatively affects the blood circulation in the body.
You can get treatment for the mental disorders that are common in connection with the illness, such as depression, hallucinations, delusions, anxiety, and anxiety. There are several different drugs that help well.
What happens in the body?
Dementia involves having problems with memory and interpreting impressions you get from your senses and your surroundings. In addition, it is more difficult to think and perform actions.
Vascular dementia, vascular dementia, is the second most common dementia disease after Alzheimer’s disease. Blood vessel dementia is caused by the fact that different parts of the brain cannot get enough nutrition and oxygen. How you are affected by the disease depends on the areas of the brain that are damaged.
If the forehead lobes are damaged, personality changes occur, and damage to the brain lobes affects the ability to analyze, interpret and understand. Damage in the temporal lobes usually results in poorer memory. Sometimes the lack of oxygen in the brain can also lead to mobility and speech disorders. Hassles can look very different from person to person.
Memorial centers particularly sensitive
The brain’s nerve cells are sensitive to a lack of oxygen and nutrients. If the blood supply to the brain suddenly deteriorates or is worse for a long time, the nerve cells can be damaged. Particularly sensitive areas are the middle parts of the temporal lobe that control memory, among other things. There, only a slight deterioration of blood flow is needed for nerve cells to be destroyed.
Several causes behind oxygen deficiency
There may be several reasons why the blood flow to the brain becomes worse. The blood vessels in the brain may have been calcified because fat, blood cells and connective tissue have been stored on the inner vessel wall for a long time. The narrow vessels then prevent the blood from carrying oxygen from circulating so well, and the lack of oxygen damages the brain’s nerve cells.
Other reasons why the brain may get too little oxygen are blood clots or bleeding in the brain, stroke. A blood clot can many times clog a blood vessel completely. Often, the plug is caused by calcification in one of the neck arteries. In the hole or crack that then occurs in the calcification, platelets are easily collected. When they are clumped together, a blood clot begins to form which can either be carried with the blood up into the brain or completely clog the carotid artery.
A brain hemorrhage occurs when a blood vessel in the brain breaks down and blood enters the brain’s tissue. Then the oxygen supply to a part of the brain is broken. The blood vessels may be broken, for example, by atherosclerosis or high blood pressure.
In addition to plugs, bleeding in the brain or blood vessel constriction, prolonged high blood pressure or repeated blood pressure drop can help to develop blood vessel dementia.
There are hereditary forms of blood vessel dementia, but most often the disease has no clear hereditary link.
Living with blood vessel dementia
Once you have been diagnosed with blood vessel dementia, the planning of the care you need begins. You or someone close to you can talk to doctors, nurses, and caregivers from the municipality.
Many people with dementia continue to live in their home with a relative. It can work for several years. A nurse, nurse or home care staff make regular home visits. Some symptoms, such as a failing memory with repeated questions, concerns and sometimes a distorted perception of reality, can make everyday life difficult for loved ones. At the same time, the sick person is often best served by living at home in his habitual environment. For the related and the ill, the trade-offs between different needs can be difficult. It can be valuable for the related person to talk about the situation with an aid assessor from the municipality, in order to be able to get more help when it starts to feel too heavy.
If you have blood vessel dementia, it is not uncommon for you to feel outside and inferior in interaction with others. Many couples, where one party has the disease, describe how both two withdraw from social contacts as the disease becomes more severe. This may mean that you are missing out on opportunities for natural stimulation and relaxation. By practically trying to keep in touch with your loved ones, you can counteract the isolation that the disease can otherwise easily lead to.
Right to care plan
Every person in need of care, whether in the home or in a special place of residence, has the right to have an individually prepared care plan, where a relative or a good man should be involved if you cannot yourself. The special accommodation can be a service house or a nursing home.
It is a district nurse or a nurse who, together with the municipality’s home care supervisor, is responsible for the care plan and ensures that you get the help you need.
Home Health Care
If you need medical care in the home but have difficulty getting to the health center, you can get home health care. Then you will be visited regularly by a district nurse, nurse or under-nurse in your home. It may be, for example, if you need daily help with your medication.
There is often a special daycare center where you live for people with dementia. For example, daycare can be located in a service house or in connection with a group residence. You eat together and can participate in different activities based on your own circumstances.
Day operations are usually open Monday to Friday. You can be there one to five days a week depending on your needs. In some municipalities, day operations are also open on certain evenings and weekends. You can often get to and from daycare with travel service, but it can vary depending on which municipality you live in.
If you live at home, you can often get good help from the person or people you live with. It can be your life partner, family, relatives or friends. But a relative may need support in their task of helping, and also have the opportunity to carry out cases on their own. Staff from the home service can come home and relieve a relative who needs relaxation, has been invited, is going out and shopping or doing other business.
If you need a lot of help and care, you may need to move away from home for periods. Then you can spend a few weeks in one of the municipality’s accommodations and a few weeks at home, so-called exchange care. How expanded this service varies from municipality to municipality.
In some municipalities, there are family consultants and special support teams for relatives of people with dementia. These teams contact close relatives, inform about the local resources available and can act as call support.
Often there are special group housing
In the end, staying home can be difficult. It is no longer enough with the help that relatives, in combination with visits by home care staff and health care personnel, can provide. Nor do different arrangements with relief or exchange care feel adequate. You can then move to some type of special accommodation, such as a group residence. In order to be able to move to a specific residence, a new assessment of assistance is needed which you or a relative is applying for.
In most municipalities, there is a difference between group housing for dementia and group housing for long-term sick. When you are old and have dementia you may have other illnesses at the same time. The type of group accommodation you will move to depends on whether it is dementia or other illnesses that are being considered.
When you live in a group residence you have your own contract for your apartment or room. You can furnish with your own furniture and other belongings to make you feel more at home. It is common to live eight to ten people together. Everyone has their own apartment or room and so they share common areas, such as kitchens, dining rooms, and living rooms. In special accommodations, there are caregivers on-site around the clock.
It is common for those with dementia to start behaving differently than before. Memory disorder can be an early sign of the disease. It is common for those who are ill to be slower in thought and in action. Some drugs can affect behavior, so it is good for you as a relative to obtain information about the drugs used by someone with dementia.
Later in the disease, the sick person becomes increasingly shielded from the environment. Often the person can no longer talk or interpret their surroundings and their own body signals. At the same time, those with dementia can function relatively well physically, and for example, be up and running.
Help to cope with daily life
People with dementia often need a lot of help to cope with their daily lives. Therefore, the planning of care and care should begin as soon as the diagnosis has been established. As a relative, you get to talk to doctors and other health care professionals, as well as assistance assessors from the municipality.
It can be stressful to be close and you can feel sadness and anger. As a relative, you may need a lot of support in your task to help. In some municipalities, there are family consultants and support teams for relatives of people with dementia. They contact and information about the municipal resources that exist and can act as call support.
Support for staying at home
Care needs to be individually tailored. This could mean, for example, that a person with dementia is given extended opportunities for physical activity, which counteracts anxiety and restlessness and stimulates the gastrointestinal functions. The municipality has a great responsibility here.
If you live with a person with dementia, a nurse, nurse or staff from the home service makes regular home visits. Over time, it is usually more difficult for those who are ill to stay at home and it may be necessary to move to a special housing for dementia, for example, a form of group housing. Usually, there are several different housing alternatives within a municipality.
The municipality’s home service can provide practical help with many everyday activities such as personal hygiene, laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping and more. In many municipalities, there are dementia nurses who can provide advice and support. The nurses also have close contact with the home care staff.
Anyone who has a dementia disease or you as a relative apply for help from the social services in the municipality. The municipality’s aid assessors make an inquiry about the needs that exist and make decisions based on them. The decision may be appealed.
The fee for the help you can get varies from municipality to municipality. More detailed information about what different efforts your own home municipality can provide and what these costs you get through your home municipality. Ask the assistance officer or anyone else who is responsible for care and care.
Right to care plan
Every person in need of care, whether in the home or in special housing, should receive an individual care plan. You as a related person or a so-called good man have the right to be involved in the planning if the person who is ill cannot himself. The special accommodation can be, for example, a service house or a nursing home.
A district nurse or nurse, together with the municipality’s supervisor for the home service, is responsible for the care plan and that the sick person receives the help needed.
Permanent care contact
Anyone who has contact with many different persons within the care can get permanent care contact. It is a person who among other things helps to coordinate care. It is possible to choose a permanent health care provider throughout the country.