A third of all stroke survivors could develop dementia within five years

20 May 2017        

Category: Research

Scan of the brain

This dementia awareness week, three of the UK’s leading health charities have highlighted that one in ten stroke survivors (10 per cent) are expected to develop dementia within a year of having their stroke, increasing to a third (32 per cent) within 5 years.

Three quarters of dementia cases in stroke survivors are thought to be caused by vascular dementia. Vascular dementia is a condition strongly linked to stroke, and there is currently no proven treatment.

Second most common type of dementia

Vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. The word ‘dementia’ describes a set of symptoms that can include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. In vascular dementia, these symptoms occur when the brain is damaged because of problems with the supply of blood to the brain.

Around 150,000 people in the UK are living with vascular dementia, with the latest estimates suggesting that by 2050 the number could rise dramatically to 350,000 people.

Uniting to fight dementia

In a bid to find ways to treat people living with this devastating disease, the Alzheimer’s Society, British Heart Foundation and the Stroke Association have united to invest £2.2 million into a vascular dementia research programme.

Part of this potentially life changing investment will be used to fund a large clinical study involving about 2,000 stroke patients, and which will include assessing their memory and other cognitive skills over at least a two year period. 

Research will find answers

Researchers hope that by comparing stroke patients who develop vascular dementia with those who don’t, they will be able to unpick the causes of the disease. Ultimately, this trial will help to improve how doctors identify and treat dementia related to stroke in the future. 

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