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Let’s talk about Vascular Dementia

Vascular dementia is one of the most common forms of dementia in Singapore, yet many of us have never heard of it. Let’s change that. Keep reading to learn more about what causes vascular dementia and how you can reduce your risk.

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Don't let Vascular Dementia Take Control of Your Life
Vascular dementia is not inevitable.
You can reduce your risk.
Did you know that almost half (45.5%) of dementia cases in Singapore are vascular dementia? You may also be surprised to learn that you can take steps now to lower your risk of vascular dementia.

So, keep reading and let’s demystify this disease together.
Facts about Vascular Dementia
Vascular dementia is a common type of dementia, which is an illness that affects the brain, leading to progressive memory loss, decline in intellectual ability and personality changes. It affects a person’s ability to think, learn and make decisions.
Vascular dementia is caused by reduced supply of blood to the brain due to damaged blood vessels, depriving brain cells of vital oxygen and nutrients.
 
 
Alzheimer’s Disease
Other than vascular dementia, Alzheimer's disease is another common type of dementia. Alzheimer's disease is a progressive illness in which the nerve cells of the brain are destroyed and the brain substance shrinks. The cause of Alzheimer’s disease is not fully understood but it’s likely a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors.
Are You At Risk of getting Vascular Dementia?
There are many factors that can increase the chances of damage to blood vessels in your brain, which in effect, increase your risk of getting vascular dementia:
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Stroke
10 Common Signs of Vascular Dementia:
Forgetfulness that affects day-to-day function
Difficulty in planning or solving problems
Confusion of time and place
Poor or decreased judgement
Difficulty in doing familiar tasks
Changes in personality
Problem in communicating
Misplacing things
Withdrawal from work or social activities
Changes in mood or behaviour
How can you Reduce Your Risk?
If you take control of your health today, you can reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases and vascular dementia. Studies have shown that a healthy lifestyle with these 5 habits can lower your risk.
Habit 1: Staying physically active
Physical activity improves blood circulation and supports growth of new brain cells.
  • Engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week.
  • Get moving through fun activities. Join our free workouts.
Habit 2: Eating healthily
Have a healthy balanced diet, and avoid food high in fat, sugar, and sodium which increases risk of cardio-pulmonary diseases.
  • Fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables, a quarter with wholegrains and a quarter with protein-rich food such as meat, fish and tofu.
  • Get cooking with these delicious and healthy recipes.
Habit 3: Staying mentally active
Learning new things and challenging the brain can increase our mental strength and capabilities. So read, play games, learn a language or pick up a new skill.
  • Visit your nearest community centre or check out SkillsFuture for interesting courses.
Habit 4: Being socially engaged
Strong relationships keep the stress away, stimulate the mind and make you a happier person.
  • Keep in touch with family and friends.
Habit 5: Taking control of your health
Manage chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure and go for regular health checkups.
  • Quit smoking and reduce alcohol intake.
  • Learn more about recommended health screenings and subsidies here.
How To
Care For People
with Vascular Dementia?
Caring for someone with vascular dementia can be intensive and challenging. To provide the best care for your loved ones, you have to start by looking after yourself. Having a good support system makes a big difference too.
Here are some quick tips on being a better caregiver:
  • Know the progression of the disease to manage the symptoms
  • Take up a training course for dementia care
  • Join a caregiver support group
  • Be aware of your needs and ask for help
For more infomation, you can call
HPB Dementia Infoline
1800 223 1123
Alzheimer’s Disease Association
6377 0700
DOWNLOAD THE “UNDERSTANDING DEMENTIA” BOOKLET TO LEARN MORE
Taking charge and
making changes
Mary was concerned when her mother started behaving very differently when she was in her 80s. Once a very diplomatic person, her mother was now accusing others of stealing. She even put locks on all her cupboard doors and drawers.
A visit to the geriatrician revealed that her mother was suffering from vascular dementia. The doctor also highlighted that her mother’s high blood pressure had been a risk factor. Relieved to have a diagnosis, Mary took charge of helping her mother. She makes sure that her mother continued to stay mentally and physically active by taking her out, singing with her and playing games together. Even though there’s still no cure for the illness, practising these healthy lifestyle habits may help to slow down the progression of the illness. Mary, who is in her 50s, also takes up calligraphy and line dancing to reduce her own risk of vascular dementia and advises her siblings to lead a healthy lifestyle too.
Finding himself again
John was 59 years old when he first came to the National Neuroscience Institute. He was vice-president in a multi-national company. But his forgetfulness was making it difficult for him to live normally.
John had serious concerns about his memory. He kept forgetting to take his medication, left the stove on and even lost his way in familiar places. Daily tasks like shopping became difficult. He would forget what he was talking about, not know what he paid for and if his change was correct.
On top of that, John used to be a smoker and had a history of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease.
John was diagnosed with vascular dementia and his care team prescribed medication and advised him to exercise regularly to improve his physical and mental health. They encouraged him to stay socially active to stimulate the brain. John now goes for daily walks, takes his medication regularly and often meets up with friends to chit-chat. His overall condition has improved, with fewer bouts of forgetfulness. He is also able to move around his neighbourhood without getting lost.
Help is just
around the corner
During one of his routine check-ups, Glenda’s father was diagnosed with dementia. With no experience in caring for someone with dementia, it has been a difficult transition for Glenda and her family. On top of that, watching her father go through dementia when he was already dealing with diabetes was difficult and emotionally stressful.
Eventually, Glenda decided to seek help from the Alzheimer’s Disease Association, and upon hearing from fellow dementia caregivers who shared similar experiences, Glenda felt a boost of confidence, and was more encouraged to deal with her father’s condition. She learnt to be more understanding of her father, and to provide better care for him. Living and coping with dementia can sometimes get too overwhelming. When that happens, don’t be afraid to seek help from organisations, counsellors, or even your family and friends.
To protect the privacy of individuals, names have been changed and images used are merely depictions, and do not reflect the identities of actual persons.

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Let’s talk about Vascular Dementia
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