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Vascular (or multi-infarct) dementia refers to a decline in a person's mental abilities that results from a series of strokes. A stroke occurs when blood flow to part of the brain is blocked, cutting off the blood supply to the brain.
Vascular dementia often progresses step by step, with declines in memory and mental functions occurring each time another stroke occurs. The specific symptoms a person has depend on which area of the brain the strokes have affected. Not all strokes cause symptoms.
Vascular dementia is often associated with hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) caused by high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes. A person can reduce the risk of future strokes by controlling high blood pressure, reducing cholesterol, quitting smoking, and taking aspirin and other drugs used to treat these conditions.
Last Revised: June 23, 2011
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Peter J. Whitehouse, MD - Neurology
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