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What Are the Risk Factors for Dementia?

Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju

Dementia is a broad term used to describe diminished mental capacity. It can affect memory, thinking, language, judgment, and other cognitive skills. Although people of all ages have a chance of getting dementia, it is most common in older people.

There are many different types of dementia, the most common being Alzheimer’s. Other types include Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia, and vascular dementia.

Risk factors for developing dementia include:

  • Age: The risk of developing dementia increases with age. In most cases, it occurs in people over the age of 65. However, there is also a risk of getting dementia in early adulthood.
  • Family history: Having a family member with dementia at a genetic level increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Health condition: Conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure can increase the chance of getting dementia.
  • Lifestyle choices: Smoking, heavy alcohol use, and lack of physical activity can increase your risk of developing dementia.

If you are concerned about your risk of developing dementia, we recommend that you see a doctor. At our Lone Star Neurology clinic, you can get professional advice from leading experts in the field of dementia.

 

What Are the Alzheimer’s Risk Factors You Can Control?

What are the alzheimers risk factors you can control

You can make many lifestyle choices to reduce your risk factors for developing Alzheimer‘s. To protect yourself from the major contributing elements to the development of the disease, it is necessary:

  • Exercise at least three to five times a week. It is essential for adults who lead a sedentary lifestyle because the chance of getting dementia is higher. At the same time, doctors advise paying particular attention to cardio exercises. Such regimens are suitable for the heart and blood vessels, improving blood circulation in all organs, including the brain. But before you start exercising, you should consult the doctor so that the physical activity does not turn out to be too intense.
  • Stick to a healthy diet, choosing the most beneficial foods for brain function. At the same time, avoid excessively fatty foods, carbohydrates, and sugar because high cholesterol is bad for the brain tissue. And it is often one of the risk factors for Alzheimer’s.
  • Watch your blood pressure constantly; don’t let it rise to critical levels. It will prevent the symptoms and signs of Alzheimer’s and maintain vascular health.
  • Control blood glucose levels. It is essential for overweight people with high blood sugar or diabetes among close family members. High glucose levels are a dangerous risk factor for dementia, causing rapid destruction of brain cells.
  • It is necessary to consult with a doctor to choose a way to reduce the chance of developing atherosclerosis. Clogged blood vessels, in turn, contribute to the rapid development of Alzheimer’s.
  • It is necessary to stop smoking. Nicotine addiction raises the chance of developing the disease by more than 50%.
  • Green or white tea is another way to keep your body balanced and give your brain the necessary nutrients. Two cups a day reduces the risk of most cortical diseases.

Taking control of your health will not only help prevent the development of dementia. But also, in general, it will positively affect a person’s intellectual qualities.

 

Is Alzheimer’s Disease Hereditary?

Although the cause of Alzheimer’s disease is not fully learned, research has shown that genetics play a role in the development of the disease. In rare cases, Alzheimer’s disease may be caused by genetic changes passed on from generation to generation. Such genetic differences account for less than 1% of all cases of Alzheimer’s disease.

 

  • The best-known form of familial Alzheimer’s disease is early-onset familial Alzheimer’s disease (EOFAD). This risk of dementia is present in early adulthood 30, 40, or 50 years of age. People with EOFAD usually have a family member who also has the disease.
  • The vast majority of cases of Alzheimer’s disease are not caused by genetic changes that are passed down from generation to generation. Such cases are called late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD) and usually affect people over 60. Although genes play a role in the development of LOAD, they are not the only risk factor for dementia. Lifestyle choices, such as smoking and obesity, and environmental factors, such as exposure to toxins, can also contribute to the development of LOAD.

 

But many other factors play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, and not all of them are fully understood. Even if you have a family history of Alzheimer’s, that doesn’t mean you will necessarily develop the disease. However, if you have a family member with Alzheimer’s, you may be at increased risk of developing the disease. If this is the case, you should consult a doctor to make sure you can avoid the problem.

 

You can read about brain exercises for dementia patients in our other article. 

 

What Are Alzheimer’s Risk Factors You Cannot Control?

What are alzheimers risk factors you cannot control

There are several risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s disease that you cannot control:

  • One of the most important is age. People over 65 have twice the chance of getting dementia every five years. It may be due to the weakening of the body’s natural repair systems and changes in immune responses. 
  • Heredity and Alzheimer’s disease. This issue requires particular consideration since most risk factors for dementia are not genetically predisposed, but it all depends on the specific causes of their development. However, experts believe that individuals who have relatives with an established disease do fall into the risk group for Alzheimer’s disease. 
  • Sex. Women over 65 are twice as likely to suffer from dementia as men, possibly due to longer average life expectancy and loss of estrogen hormone during menopause.

You can’t change your age, sex, or family history. But there are other risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease that you can control. We wrote about them above, and sticking to them can reduce your chances of getting dementia.

 

How Common Is Dementia?

Dementia is a relatively common disease. According to the World Health Organization, about 50 million people live with dementia worldwide, and nearly 10 million new cases occur yearly. It is estimated that by 2050, the number of people with dementia will increase to 132 million.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for 60-70% of all cases. About 5.7 million people over 65 in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s disease, which is expected to triple by 2050. Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and the only one in the top ten that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed down.

After age 65, up to 5% of people suffer from the disease. This percentage rises to 20% in people over the age of 80. 

 

Dementia and Alzheimer’s: What is the Difference? – read about it in our LoneStar blog.

 

Unproven Risks Factors for Dementia

Many risk factors for dementia have been studied, but the results have been inconclusive. More research is needed to determine whether these factors cause dementia.

One of the most controversial risk factors for dementia is the flu vaccination. Several small studies have shown that the flu vaccine may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, but more extensive and more definitive studies have found no link between these two factors.

Unproven risks factors for dementia

Other unproven risk factors for developing dementia include:

  • prior head trauma;
  • depression;
  • diabetes;
  • high blood pressure;
  • high cholesterol levels;
  • obesity. 

Although more research is needed to confirm these risk factors for dementia, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of developing the disease, such as living a healthy lifestyle. 

 

Conclusion

The likelihood of getting dementia rises with age; it is a rather common condition. Age, sex, and family history are a few dementia risk variables that are out of your control. Other risk factors, like your lifestyle choices, are things you can affect, though. Making healthy decisions can assist you in lowering your chances of dementia.

 

FAQs

  • What are 5 possible causes of dementia?

There can be several causes of dementia. Here are some of them:

  • heredity (not 100% probability, but the risk of having the same increases);
  • age (people over 65 have an increased risk of having dementia)
  • cardiovascular disease (heart attack, stroke and other diseases that affect blood vessels increase the risk of getting dementia)
  • low physical activity and poor diet;
  • smoking.

 

  • What is the strongest risk factor for the development of dementia?

Age is the strongest known risk factor in the development of dementia. Starting at age 65 and every 5 years thereafter, the risk of disease increases dramatically.

  • Is stress a risk factor for dementia?

Yes, stress can be a factor in the development of dementia. However, there is no 100% confirmed data as to whether this is true. Some people who experience stress do develop dementia, some do not.

  • How can dementia be prevented?

The first thing to do is to watch your lifestyle: don’t eat junk food, don’t smoke, and do physical activity. If you have a family member with confirmed Alzheimer’s, ask your doctor to prescribe a list of actions to minimize your risks.

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Lone Star Neurology
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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been prepared.read more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well together.read more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your business.read more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any cookies.read more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going there.read more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my treatment.read more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to finish.read more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 stars.read more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his staff.read more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best treatment.read more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my doctor.read more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding solutions.read more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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