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Is Dementia Hereditary/Genetic?

An older woman looking through a window.

It is said that about 55 million people worldwide have dementia. Dementia is a broad term used to describe a decline in cognitive function that affects an individual’s daily life. It includes problems with memory, thinking, language, judgement, and behaviour. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for about 60% to 80% of cases. One of the most asked questions about dementia is whether it is hereditary or genetic. In this article, we will explore the link between dementia and genetics.

 

Can Dementia Be Passed Down In Families? 

 

The risk of dementia is hereditary, but dementia itself isn’t passed down like other genetic diseases. This means that if a parent has dementia, it does not necessarily mean their child will develop the same condition.

There are only four genes known to increase your risk of developing dementia, and these genes run from generation to generation, with some people developing dementia while others do not. It is the same with environmental factors, such as diet and lifestyle choices. While they may increase your risk of developing dementia, they do not guarantee that you will develop it.

There is, however, one form of Alzheimer’s disease that is passed down – FAD, Familial Alzheimer’s disease. If a parent has a gene that causes FAD, the child has about a 50% chance of inheriting that gene and developing the disease. 

 

Early Signs Of Dementia

 

Certain early signs may indicate the potential development of dementia in an individual. The early signs of dementia may include the following:

 

  • Getting lost while driving or walking
  • losing or misplacing things
  • forgetting names of familiar people or objects
  • difficulty completing familiar tasks
  • confusion with time and places
  • changes in mood or behaviour

 

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to consult with your doctor. They can run tests to determine the cause and provide proper treatment if necessary.

 

Want To Know If Your Genes Increase Dementia Risk?

 

Our GENEWELL Test at Geneway tests for genetic variants involved in physiological processes that are linked to an increased risk for certain lifestyle diseases, including dementia. Order yours today and learn more about how your genes may impact your health, but more importantly, receive some advice on how to reduce the risk.

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