Mixed dementia has characteristics of both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. Researchers don't know exactly how many older adults currently diagnosed with a specific type of dementia actually have mixed dementia, but autopsy studies indicate that the condition may be significantly more common than previously realized. Autopsy studies pay a key role in shedding light on mixed dementia because scientists can't yet measure most dementia-related brain changes in living individuals.
The concept of mixed dementia is clinically important because the combination of the two diseases may have a greater impact on the brain than either by itself.
- May follow a pattern similar to either Alzheimer’s or vascular dementia or a combination of the two.
- Some experts recommend suspecting mixed dementia whenever a person has both evidence of cardiovascular disease and dementia symptoms that get worse slowly.
Maintaining a lifelong heart-healthy lifestyle could help prevent mixed dementia. It may also help delay or prevent progression of symptoms in older adults.
Source: Alzheimer’s Association www.alz.org
Last Updated: 08/14/12