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Signs & Symptoms Neurology & Neurosurgery

Vascular Dementia
Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of vascular dementia (VaD) can develop quickly or slowly. At times, people with VaD experience long periods without noticeable changes, or may even show improvement. But if the disease is caused by aa stroke and another stroke occurs, symptoms may progress rapidly.

The condition often occurs with Alzheimer's disease, which complicates its progression. VaD symptoms are similar to those of Alzheimer's disease (AD), such as memory loss, but are usually easier to overcome with cues and reminders.

Common symptoms include:

  • Difficulty following instructions
  • Difficulty organizing and solving complex problems
  • Difficulty retrieving words from memory
  • Distraction or "absent mindedness"
  • Problems speaking
  • Slowed thinking
  • Walking with rapid, shuffling steps

Other symptoms may include:

  • Balance and movement problems
  • Hallucinations or delusions, which may be distressing to the patient and caregiver
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Mood and behavior changes, such as depression, irritability or apathy
  • Symptoms of Parkinson's disease, such as tremors

UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.