The Risks, Causes and Signs of Dementia

There are almost 1 million people living with dementia in the UK and the diagnosis rate is only expected to increase over the coming years and decades. Dementia mainly affects people aged over 65 and the likelihood increases with age. However, scientists are investigating the genetic background of dementia. As it does appear that in rare cases the diseases that can cause dementia can be inherited. For example, some people with a particular genetic make-up can have an increased/ higher risk than others to develop dementia. Shown below are a range of risk factors in developing dementia. Some of these can be preventable: • Old age • Your Family history • High blood pressure & High cholesterol • Being overweight • Type 2 Diabetes • Lack of physical exercise • Less cognitive stimulation • Head injury/trauma

What is dementia? Dementia is a collection of symptoms that are caused by disorders that affect the brain. Therefore, Dementia affects your thinking, your behaviour as also the ability to perform your everyday tasks. Who gets dementia? Usually people who get dementia are older, however it is also important to remember that not all older people will get dementia. Research shows that it is more common after 65 years of age, but sadly it has been known that people who are in their 40s and 50s can also get dementia. What causes dementia? There are various forms of dementia, each of them have their own causes. The most common forms of dementia are: Alzheimer's disease, Vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, Fronto Temporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD), Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease. Also there is also alcohol-related dementia (also known as Korsakoff's syndrome) and Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease (CJD). How do you know if it is dementia? There are various conditions that can produce symptoms that are similar to dementia including vitamin deficiencies, depression, medication conflict (For example, one tablet you take has an adverse reaction to another tablet you take) or even over medication, infections and brain tumours. Can dementia be inherited? This depends I understand on the cause of the dementia, therefore it is important to have firm medical diagnosis. If there are concerns about the risk of inheriting dementia, then you should always consult your GP or contact the Alzheimer's Society and speak with a counsellor or someone who can provide you with sound advice. Click on: to visit the Alzheimer’s Society website. Or click on: to visit the DementiaUK website for more help and information. What are the early signs or symptoms to look for? Confusion Progressive & Frequent memory loss and forgetful Personality change Apathy & Withdrawal Loss of ability to perform usually easy everyday tasks What can be done to help Dementia? There is NO prevention or cure for most forms of dementia. But thankfully that are some medications which have have been found to reduce some of the symptoms.

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