Cerebrovascular disease (CVD) is an important cause of psychiatric disability in the elderly. Much of this disability can be attributed to dementia and lesser degrees of cognitive impairment, which result from strokes and other forms of cerebrovascular pathology. While vascular dementia is common, estimates of its frequency vary due to its clinical and pathologic heterogeneity, the challenges involved in its measurement and its frequent co-occurrence with Alzheimer's disease. Nevertheless the clinical features and natural histories of vascular dementia can be described, and risk factors have been identified and include hypertension, diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidaemia, other conditions that promote atherosclerosis, and rare genetic mutations. While vascular dementia is not curable, treatments are available. For example, a few recent clinical trials suggest that cholinesterase inhibitors have some efficacy. Our knowledge of the risk factors has also provided opportunities for the primary and secondary prevention of vascular dementia, and indicates promising avenues for research.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health