Is Dementia Hereditary?

January 30th, 2018 by John Wilson

Certain ailments become more common as individuals age, which raises the question: does this mean many illnesses are hereditary? One of the biggest concerns for residents of assisted living care in Oklahoma City is dementia. If you have a loved one who is suffering from this condition, you may ask yourself if that means you are at an increased risk of developing the condition later in life. Knowing the answer can help you better prepare for the type of care you may one day need.

What Is Dementia?

First and foremost, it’s important to understand exactly what dementia is. In general, dementia is a broad term that relates to any degradation in brain function and/or memory. This means it can encompass a number of medical conditions and may even refer to memory loss that isn’t related to a medical issue at all. This means that in general, dementia is not inherited. In many cases, it is a normal part of aging or simply the symptom of another medical problem that needs to be diagnosed separately. This means some forms of dementia are hereditary, while others aren’t. If your loved one is suffering from any form of dementia, they will need to find assisted living care in OKC that is capable of handling the issue.

At affordable assisted living, they may help with dementia symptoms.

Affordable assisted living can help battle dementia symptoms.

Dementia Can Be Caused by Many Conditions

Perhaps the most common type of dementia most people are familiar with is Alzheimer’s. This condition causes seniors to slowly forget pieces of their lives, including family members and friends. The progression is often backward, taking them back through their lives, forgetting more recent occurrences and clinging to much older memories. However, even Alzheimer’s is not typically hereditary, although its presence can increase the risks of other family members developing the condition by slight amounts.

While Alzheimer’s is the condition most people typically associate with dementia, with 60 to 80 percent of all cases under this category, it isn’t the only possible cause. About 20 percent of the rest of the cases are called vascular dementia. Things like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes can all cause strokes or other problems that can lead to dementia. Certain other medical conditions, such as Parkinson’s Disease and Huntington’s Disease can also cause dementia. These types of medical problems are hereditary and it’s important to seek genetic counseling to determine your risk factor in the future.

Can You Reduce Your Risk?

There’s nothing that can prevent the development of dementia, but there are some things you can do to lower your risks, especially if you don’t have a condition that causes hereditary dementia. Exercise and a healthy diet can go a long way toward keeping the mind  healthy. You should also participate in activities that keep the brain stimulated, such as reading, crossword puzzles and games. Limiting alcohol and tobacco use can also help.

If you’re looking for affordable assisted living in OKC, contact us. We can help you find the best possible care for your senior loved one.

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