Vascular dementia is caused by reduced blood flow to the brain, which damages and eventually kills brain cells.

This is usually due to:

Some people with vascular dementia also have brain damage caused by Alzheimer's disease. This is known as mixed dementia.

Who's most at risk?

Things that can increase your chances of getting vascular dementia in later life include:

These problems increase the risk of damage to the blood vessels in and around your brain, or cause blood clots to develop inside them.

Can I reduce my risk?

By making healthy lifestyle changes, such as stopping smoking and exercising regularly, and treating any health conditions you have, you may be able to reduce your chances of getting vascular dementia.

This may also to help slow down or stop the progression of vascular dementia if you're diagnosed in the early stages. Find out more about treating vascular dementia.

But there are some things you cannot change that can increase your risk of vascular dementia, such as:

In rare cases, unavoidable genetic conditions can also increase your risk of vascular dementia.

Page last reviewed: 5 March 2020
Next review due: 5 March 2023