Steps To Reduce Your Risk Of Dementia

A mother and her daughter. Dementia risk can be inherited.

It’s true that genetics plays a significant role in determining your risk of developing dementia. In fact, studies show that people with a parent or sibling suffering the disease are more likely to develop the condition, with an increased risk of 30 to 40 percent. 

With Alzheimer’s disease – the most common form of dementia – 30 percent of those who suffer have a family history of the condition, suggesting a strong genetic component. 

With vascular dementia, however, the connection is more notable because specific genes impact the development of other conditions that can contribute to the likelihood of vascular dementia. High blood pressure, heart disease and type 2 diabetes all have a genetic component and all can impact blood flow to the brain. 

But dementia’s onset, whether Alzheimer’s or vascular, is often driven by poor lifestyle choices and environmental factors than genetics. Research shows that if you lead a healthy lifestyle – eat a healthy diet, avoid being sedentary and exercise regularly, get enough sleep and quit smoking – you can lower your risk of both types of dementia, regardless of your family history.

Are you destined to get dementia just because your parents or other family members had it? Your risk goes up, but it’s not guaranteed, especially if you take steps to live a healthy lifestyle.

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5 Ways to Fight Dementia / Louis B Malinow, M.D. / April 13, 2000

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