Vascular dementia causes problems with mental abilities and several other difficulties.

The symptoms can start suddenly or gradually. They tend to get worse over time, although treatment can help slow this down.

Early symptoms

Early signs of vascular dementia can include mild:

At the beginning, these problems may be barely noticeable or mistaken for something else, such as depression. But they indicate some brain damage has happened and that treatment is needed.

Later symptoms

The symptoms often continue to get worse over time. This may happen slowly, or in sudden steps every few months or years.

The symptoms depend on the part of the brain that's affected, but can include:

Some people also have some symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.

Getting medical advice

See a GP if you think you have early symptoms of dementia, especially if you're over 65 years of age.

If it's found at an early stage, treatment may be able to stop vascular dementia getting worse, or at least slow it down.

If you're worried about someone else, encourage them to make an appointment with a GP and perhaps suggest that you go with them.

Symptoms of dementia can have several causes. A GP can do some simple checks to try to find out the cause and may refer you to a specialist for further tests.

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Page last reviewed: 8 June 2023
Next review due: 8 June 2025