Treating vascular dementia

There's currently no cure for vascular dementia and no way to reverse the damage to the brain that's already occurred, but treatments can help prevent further damage and may help slow downits progression.

When you are diagnosed with dementia, your future health and social care needs will need to be assessed and a care plan drawn up.

This is a way of ensuring you receive the right treatment for your needs. It involves identifying areas where you may need some assistance, such as:

  • what support you or your carer need for you to remain as independent as possible
  • whether there are any changes that need to be made to your home to make it easier to live in
  • whether you need any financial assistance

This will usually involve making healthy lifestyle changes and taking medication.

Treating the underlyingcondition can help prevent further problems, such as Heat exhaustion and heatstroke , and may help slow down or stop the progression of vascular dementiaif it's diagnosed early.

Lifestyle changes

Adopting a healthier lifestyle should help reduce your risk of experiencing further damage to your brain. This may involve:

  • eating healthily for example, following a low-salt diet to manage high blood pressure
  • losing weight , if you are overweight
  • stopping smoking , if you smoke
  • getting fit
  • cutting down on alcohol

The above links will take you to information and advice on making these lifestyle changes.


Any medication you're prescribed will depend on the underlying condition you have.You may be offered:

  • antihypertensives, such asangiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and beta-blockers ,to treathigh blood pressure
  • statins to treat high cholesterol
  • antiplatelets, such as aspirin or clopidogrel ,to reduce your risk of blood clots and further strokes
  • anticoagulants , such as warfarin ,which can also reduce your risk of blood clots and further strokes
  • diabetes medication, such asmetformin
  • antidepressants to treat depression

Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors such as donepezil (Aricept), galantamine (Reminyl) or rivastigmine(Exelon), which are commonly used to treat Alzheimer's disease ,aren't designed to treat vascular dementia specifically, but may sometimes be used.

They can be particularly helpful if you have a combination of vascular dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Supportive measures andtreatments

There are alsoa number of therapies that can help make everyday living easier if you havedementia. These include:

  • occupational therapy to identify problem areas in everyday life, such as getting dressed, and help work out practical solutions
  • speech and language therapy to help improve any communication problems
  • physiotherapy to help with movement difficulties
  • psychological treatments , such as cognitive stimulation, to help improve memory, problem-solving skills, and language ability
  • relaxation therapies, such as aromatherapy, music or dance therapy, and massage

Thisshould include ensuring that your wishes are upheld ifyou're not able to make decisions for yourself.

You may wish todraw up an advance decision after first receiving a diagnosis of dementia. This makes your treatment preferences known now in case you are unable to do this in the future.

You may alsowanttoconsidergiving a relativelasting power of attorney. This is the power to make decisions about you if you are unable to.


Advice for carers

If youcare for someone with dementia, you may find it helpful to read more about:

  • respite care , which can allow you to take breaks from caring
  • legal issues for carers , such as what to do when someone can no longer make decisions for themselves
  • benefits for carers , such as allowances and tax credits that may be available
  • looking after someone with dementia
Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 20 May 2016