Thank you so much for your question!
First, the correct diagnosis of observed cognitive issues is critical to proper care. Thus, we recommend following up with your loved one’s primary care provider, cardiologist, and neurologist for full discussion of your concerns.
However, it is helpful to know that presenting dementia symptoms can come in many forms and for a multitude of reasons. Dementia is a general term describing a set of problems with planning, judgment, memory, reasoning, and other thought processes. There is a common type of dementia called Vascular Dementia that is connected to cardiac and circulatory problems. Vascular dementia can present with similar symptoms to many other dementias (such as Alzheimer’s) – however, the cause is often linked to impaired blood flow and oxygen transport to the brain cells.
Factors that increase one’s risk of heart disease and stroke (which include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hardening of the arteries, atrial fibrillation, uncontrolled weight, and smoking) are greatly linked to also increase one’s risk for Vascular Dementia. This specific type of dementia results from conditions such as stroke or narrowed or chronically damaged blood vessels – reducing its ability to supply the brain with the proper amounts of nutrition and oxygen to perform effectively.
Her doctors will assist your family to determine the nature of her symptoms and will help your family to make the best judgment about whether Vascular Dementia is the most likely cause of her symptoms. They will rely strongly on the information provided by the individual and family, her medical history (including that for stroke, circulatory, or cardiac disorders), current lab work, and possibly also brain imaging or procedures (such as CT scan or MRI) and carotid ultrasound to detect potential damage. They can provide potential treatment opportunities and lifestyle changes to hopefully slow the progression of her dementia symptoms.
Wishing the best to you and yours!