Understanding Multi-Infarct Dementia (Risks, Symptoms, and Treatment)

Vascular dementia is the second most common among various types of dementia. Multi-infarct dementia (MID), which is the loss of cognitive function caused by the damaged brain’s blood vessel, is the most common vascular dementia.

What is meant by multi-infarct dementia?

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Multi-infarct dementia is caused by the disruption of blood flow, which leads to loss of function in multiple areas of the brain.

Infarcts or a series of small strokes is the common cause of dementia multi-infarct. If blood flow is interrupted by these strokes for a few seconds, brain tissue cells will lack oxygen and die, resulting in permanent damage. 

This often leads MID patients to experience brain problems and changes in psychological behaviour.

What are the symptoms of MID?

There are various symptoms of dementia (multi-infarct), ranging from simple symptoms in the early stage to more evident ones.

Here are some early indications of vascular dementia disease.

As dementia progresses, more evident and critical symptoms of dementia vascular arise, which include:

What are the risk factors of MID?

What are the risk factors of MID Understanding Multi-Infarct Dementia | My Delta Care

As the COVID-19 pandemic struck the world, millions were confined in their home for months, which poses greater concerns to the well-being of dementia multi-infarct patients. 

In Australia, it has been the leading cause of disability. The risk factors for dementia multi-infarct include the following:

Age

Vascular dementia usually happens to individuals in their 80s or 90s, while it is less common in those between 60s and 70s.

Atherosclerosis

Hardening of the arteries results in the narrowing of blood vessels due to the building up of plaque and ultimately leads to vascular dementia.

Stroke

Those who had cerebral damage from the previous stroke and silent strokes have a higher risk of vascular dementia.

Diabetes

High glucose damages arteries, which poses greater risk factors of incurring a stroke and other vascular issues.

High blood pressure

Vascular cognitive impairment within the brain may occur as hypertension damages vessels of the blood.

Smoking

Smoking leads to the hardening of the artery, strokes, vascular dementia, and other vascular diseases.

High cholesterol

There is a higher chance of vascular dementia and Alzheimer's disease because of high levels of cholesterol.

Other medical conditions

Existing medical conditions increase the MID risk, including atrial fibrillation, heart failure, and strokes.

Lifestyle risks

Smoking, drinking alcohol, poor diet, lack of physical activity, and low level of education may lead to MID.

How is MID diagnosed?

How is MID diagnosed Understanding Multi-Infarct Dementia | My Delta Care

There is no specific clinical test to detect MID and vascular dementia in patients. Diagnosis may include a history check of health information and psychological decline, a neurological exam, CT or MRI scans detailing small brain tissue which died and ruling out any other cause of vascular dementia such as high blood pressure.

Also, an electroencephalogram can be done to measure the electrical activity of your brain, and a transcranial doppler to measure blood flow velocity in your brain’s blood vessel.

How to treat multi-infarct dementia?

Treating dementia multi-infarct may be modified, but it mostly included medication, clinical and alternative treatments.

Medications

Some prescribed drugs to help manage vascular dementia include:

Therapies and alternative treatments

Therapies and alternative treatments Understanding Multi-Infarct Dementia | My Delta Care

Therapy for people with MID includes having regular exercise to develop muscle strength, rehabilitation for mobility issues, as well as cognitive training to recuperate mental function.

Another popular treatment is alternative treatment like herbal supplements. However, there is insufficient research on their efficiency. Some herbal supplements are being used to treat MID:

However, it is best if you talk to your doctor about these supplements before taking them as treatment.

How to prevent multi-infarct dementia?

Currently, no clinical proof confirms any measure to effectively prevent MID. However, taking care of your body is a small step to avoid acquiring the disease: 

Although MID still has no cure, medications and cognitive training may help preserve the health of your brain. The progression of vascular dementia differs depending on the overall health of patients. 

Check out the Dementia Care blog on Delta Care website to know more about the disease. You may also visit residential aged homes in Victoria (VIC), Australia for more information.

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