Vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia, behind Alzheimer’s disease.
Vascular dementia typically occurs after a stroke, but it can occur for other reasons.
The U.S. National Institute on Aging identifies three common forms:
- Multi-infarct dementia — This occurs after a series of small strokes that damage brain cells.
- Cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL) — This inherited form results in a thickening of the walls of small- and medium-sized blood vessels, eventually stemming the flow of blood to the brain.
- Subcortical vascular dementia, also calledBinswanger’s disease — This rare form involves extensive damage to the small blood vessels and nerve fibers that make up white matter, the part of the brain believed critical for relaying messages between regions.