Vascular dementia can have symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

These may include memory loss, disorientation and problems with communication. There can also be more specific symptoms and these will differ depending on the area of the brain affected.

These symptoms may include:

  • Slower thinking - taking more time to process information and to form thoughts and sentences.
  • Personality changes – people may become low in mood, more emotional or lose interest in what’s happening around them.
  • Movement problems - difficulty walking or changes in the way a person walks.
  • Stability – unsteadiness and falls.

Some of the symptoms of vascular dementia may also be caused by other conditions. Your doctor can run tests to find out what is causing your symptoms.

The symptoms of vascular dementia get worse over time. This can take several years, but the speed of change can vary over time and from person to person. There may be a sudden change after an event such as a stroke.

In the later stages, the condition affects more aspects of everyday life. People may need help with activities such as eating, dressing and using the toilet.

What is vascular dementia?

This booklet aims to help you understand more about vascular dementia. It gives an overview of the causes, symptoms and treatments.


Order health information

Alzheimer’s Research UK has a wide range of information about dementia. Order booklets or download them from our online form.

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.

Was this information helpful?

Let us know what you think by filling out this short survey.


Dementia Research Infoline

Want to know more about current research? Keen to get involved in research projects?

Contact the Dementia Research Infoline,

9am-5pm, Monday to Friday

0300 111 5 111