Stanford Center for Memory Disorders

What is Vascular Dementia?

Vascular dementia (VaD) is the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer's disease (AD). It's caused by damage to brain tissue, which occurs because of decreased blood flow. Blood flow to brain tissue may be completely blocked by a clot in a blood vessel, or blood flow may be decreased but not completely blocked by a partial blockage in blood vessels in the brain.

VaD may develop gradually, or it may become apparent after a stroke or after undergoing major surgery, such as heart bypass surgery or abdominal surgery.

Facts about VaD

Dementia and other related diseases and conditions are difficult to distinguish because they share similar signs and symptoms. Although VaD is caused by problems with blood flow to the brain, this blood flow problem can happen in different ways. So, different types of VaD are based on how each type occurs:

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