While there are no defined stages of vascular dementia, the disease does eventually end with death, explains the Alzheimer's Association. As with other forms of dementia, vascular dementia shortens a person's life expectancy. Research suggests that a person who develops dementia as a result of a stroke lives for three years on average. Cognitive changes occasionally improve as the brain reproduces new cells and blood vessels that establish new roles.
Vascular dementia, the result of conditions that limit blood flow to the brain, can range from mild to severe in its impact on thinking skills, notes the Alzheimer's Association. Symptoms of vascular dementia that immediately follow a stroke may include a loss of vision, disorientation, confusion, and a difficulty speaking or understanding speech. Depending on where blood flow is reduced, memory loss may or may not occur. These symptoms often coincide with other notable signs of a stroke, such as headaches and paralysis on one side of the body.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved any medications for treatment of vascular dementia, as of 2015. Treatment generally involves lessening the risk factors for further damage to the brain's blood vessels, claims the Alzheimer's Association. Some suggestions include avoiding smoking and alcohol, maintaining a healthy weight, establishing a well-balanced diet, exercising, and keeping blood pressure within the recommended levels.