Symptoms and Signs of Stroke-Related Dementia

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 12/3/2021

Doctor's Notes on Stroke-Related Dementia

A stroke occurs when part of the brain does not receive enough blood to function normally due to an obstruction of the blood vessels and the cells die (infarction or thrombotic stroke), or when a blood vessel ruptures (hemorrhagic stroke). Common symptoms of stroke include sudden paralysis or loss of sensation in part of the body (especially on one side), partial loss of vision or double vision, loss of balance, slurred speech, or confusion. Stroke can also result in a decline in cognitive mental functions such as memory, speech, and language, thinking, organization, reasoning, or judgment. If these symptoms are severe enough to interfere with everyday activities, they are called dementia.

Symptoms of stroke-related dementia may occur abruptly over weeks or months or develop gradually over years. Symptoms of stroke-related dementia include

  • inattention,
  • poor concentration,
  • difficulty following instructions,
  • difficulty planning and organizing tasks,
  • confusion, wandering,
  • getting lost in familiar surroundings,
  • poor judgment,
  • difficulties with reasoning or problem solving,
  • psychosis (agitation, aggression,
  • hallucinations,
  • delusions,
  • loss of contact with reality,
  • inability to relate appropriately to surroundings and other people),
  • mood and behavior changes,
  • depression, or
  • laughing or crying inappropriately.

What Is the Treatment for Stroke-Related Dementia?

Treatment for stroke-related dementia consists of medications and behavioral modifications to try to prevent further stroke damage. Your medical provider may recommend the following: 

Strategies to help with memory and cognition can be used to manage the memory issues associated with stroke-related dementia. Some coping strategies to help with memory issues include:

  • Regular physical therapy and exercise 
  • Creation of specific routines for most activities of daily living 
  • Using lists and reminders 
  • Computer games that assist with cognition 
  • Joining stroke support groups

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REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.