What Causes Dementia?
There are a number of diseases and conditions that can cause dementia.
For many people there is still the question “Why me?”
Dementia is not an inevitable consequence of ageing, but it is more common among older people. It occurs in all social classes and ethnic groups and can also affect people below the age of 65years. But what causes some people to have Alzheimer’s disease, or another type of dementia, and not other people?
Some conditions causing dementia, such as Huntington’s disease, are hereditary.
People who have Down’s syndrome seem to be at increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
It is thought that there may be genetic risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease, but the vast majority of cases do not have a direct family link.
You can read more in the Alzheimer’s Society factsheet Genetics and dementia.
Blood Pressure and Heart Disease
High blood pressure and heart/vascular disease are linked to an increased risk of developing dementia.
As well as increased risk of vascular dementia, people who have high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels also have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
People who have had a serious head injury (e.g. a car accident), or repeated head injuries (e.g. professional boxers), are at increased risk of developing dementia.
Types of Dementia
Dementia is not always caused by Alzheimer’s disease.
Dementia web has produced a range of factsheets which give details about diseases and conditions that can cause dementia. To read these factsheets, please select from the following list:
* Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
* Dementia and Down’s Syndrome
* Alcohol-Related Brain Damage
* Pick’s disease
* Dementia with Lewy Bodies
* Vascular Dementia
* Huntington’s disease
Is a Diagnosis Important?
Different types of dementia have different treatments. Also, some people may experience dementia like symptoms caused by other conditions, such as thyroid problems, vitamin deficiency, dehydration, infections or even depression. It is crucial to get the right treatment, at the right time, so getting a diagnosis is very important. Also, having a diagnosis means that services and financial support can be more readily accessed, both for the person with the diagnosis and their carer.