Research has found that 32 per cent of people who survive a stroke will develop dementia within five years.
One in ten of them will get it within the first year.
The majority – around 75 per cent – of dementia cases in stroke survivors are the vascular dementia type.
After Alzheimer’s disease, it’s the second most common form of dementia.
The term ‘dementia’ describes a set of symptoms which can include difficulties with thinking, problem solving, memory or language.
Vascular dementia is strongly linked to having had a stroke.
It happens when the brain is damaged because of issues with the supply of blood to the brain.
There are around 150,000 people with vascular dementia living in the UK, but there’s currently no way of treating it.
However, the Alzheimer’s Society, British Heart Foundation and the Stroke Association have joined forces to invest £2.2 million into finding ways to treat people with the condition.
It will be used to fund a large clinical study involving 2,000 stroke patients over a two-year period.
Part of their research will involve comparing sufferers who develop vascular dementia with those who don’t, to try and identify the cause.
They hope this will enable them to treat dementia related to stroke in the future.
Professor Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “To survive a stroke, only to be diagnosed with dementia is the heart-breaking reality for hundreds of thousands of people in the UK.
“We know that stroke survivors are more likely to develop vascular dementia. What we don’t know is why. And right now doctors are powerless to prevent the onset of this devastating disease in people who have already had a stroke.
“By funding this research we’re hoping to give patients answers, and find a way to finally treat vascular dementia.”
Even if survivors don’t develop dementia, they may still have problems with thinking and memory after a stroke.
The research is particularly important given that by 2050 the number of people suffering from vascular dementia is projected to rise to 350,000.