Researchers Reveal How Your Risk For Dementia Changes As You Age

Dementia is an umbrella term for a group of degenerative diseases that affect cognitive function and memory (via National Institutes on Aging). Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for up to 80% of all cases. Other forms of dementia include Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia, and vascular dementia.

There is no certain way to prevent dementia, but new research suggests that your risk of developing dementia can change depending on your age. According to a new study published in Neurology, participants over the age of 55 with various medical conditions were more likely to develop dementia later in life. People over 55 with diabetes, for example, were four times more likely to get dementia as they aged than people without diabetes at the same age. People over 55 who had high blood pressure were also more likely to get dementia as opposed to people over 55 without high blood pressure. Heart disease and stroke also increased the risk of someone developing dementia later in life. This research can help people more accurately predict their risk of developing dementia and seek treatment to lower that risk.

Other risk factors for dementia

While there is no clear cause of dementia, there are many risk factors that can increase your chance of developing this disease later in life. Some of these factors include age, family history, medical conditions, and lifestyle choices (via Mayo Clinic). The risk of dementia increases with age, especially after the age of 65. Having a family member with dementia increases your risk of developing the disease, as well as certain medical conditions, such as stroke, head injury, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease. Smoking, heavy drinking, and not exercising are all lifestyle choices that can also increase your risk of developing dementia.

Symptoms of dementia include memory loss, problems with problem-solving, difficulties with language, and changes in mood and behavior. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor so they can rule out other possible causes and begin treating them. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing dementia, but treatments can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. Medications can help with memory loss, behavioral changes, and sleep issues. Therapy can help with communication and coping strategies. And support groups can provide social and emotional support for both the person with dementia and their caregivers. While there is no cure for dementia, these treatments can help people manage the disease and maintain some level of independence.