Vascular dementia

Vascular dementia is the second most common cause of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease.

It is important to get the right diagnosis so that the right treatments and help can be given. If you are worried about your health or someone else’s, you should talk to your GP.

If your doctor suspects dementia, you may be referred to a memory clinic or another specialist clinic. You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. You may have a physical check-up and some memory and thinking tests. You may also be sent for other tests including brain scans and blood tests. Together these tests will help the doctor at the clinic to identify the memory and thinking problems and the likely cause.

Brain scans such as CT (computerised tomography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) may be helpful in giving a diagnosis of vascular dementia. This is because they allow doctors to look for changes in blood vessels that are common in this type of dementia. Brain scans also help doctors rule out other conditions that could cause similar symptoms.

For more general information about diagnosis of dementia, visit our diagnosis page.

This information was updated in December 2019 and is due for review in December 2021. It does not replace any advice that doctors, pharmacists or nurses may give you. Please contact us if you would like a version with references.

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