Symptoms of Vascular Dementia

Symptoms of vascular dementia vary depending on what part of the brain is affected and the cause of the vascular dementia. A common early symptom of vascular dementia is a decline in the ability to organize thoughts or actions. Often the most noticeable symptom of vascular dementia is memory problems. Other symptoms include the following:

  • confusion and agitation
  • difficulty solving problems
  • unsteady walking
  • difficulty "finding" words
  • urinary frequency, urgency, or incontinence
  • mood problems or changes in personality

Symptoms Related to Stroke or Mini-stroke

People with vascular dementia may also have other (physical) signs of a stroke or ministrokes. There may be a localized area of the body, such as a hand or the facial muscles, that is weakened or the person may have a numb area somewhere on the body.

Onset and Course of Symptoms

Symptoms of vascular dementia may have a sudden onset if they are related to a stroke or mini-stroke. People with this type of vascular dementia, sometimes called multi-infarct dementia, have a so-called "stepwise" progression of their symptoms, meaning that their symptoms stay the same for awhile and then suddenly get worse as the individual has additional strokes or mini-strokes.

People with other forms of vascular dementia will have a gradual increase in symptoms and the disease will slowly get worse over time. This is similar to the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

This section of a web page describes the signs and symptoms of vascular dementia. Both physical and behavioral signs and symptoms are listed.
Medline Plus
This section of an article lists common symptoms of multi-infarct dementia, including slowly progressive memory loss, awareness of mental deterioration, social withdrawal, decreased ability to function independently, and others.
Mayo Clinic
This web page discusses the signs and symptoms of vascular dementia. Their onset is compared to other forms of dementia. Common early symptoms are described.