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Health Tip: Multi-infarct Dementia

Learn its warning signs

(HealthDay News) -- Multi-infarct dementia is the second most common cause of dementia in older people.

But sometimes it's difficult to distinguish from Alzheimer's disease -- the most common cause. It may even be possible for a person to have both multi-infarct dementia and Alzheimer's, making a doctor's diagnosis all the more difficult.

Symptoms that begin suddenly may be a sign of multi-infarct dementia. In addition to confusion and problems with recent memory, symptoms may include:

  • Wandering or getting lost in familiar surroundings.
  • Moving with rapid, shuffling steps.
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control.
  • Laughing or crying inappropriately.
  • Difficulty following instructions.

Multi-infarct dementia is often a result of a series of small strokes, called ministrokes or TIAs (transient ischemic attacks).

The National Mental Health Association says that while no treatment can reverse damage that has already been done, treatment to prevent additional strokes is very important. Stroke risk factors include high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease.

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