Other Rare Types Of Dementia
Other rare types of dementia that can be passed down through the family include Huntingtons disease and Familial Prion disease. These diseases have a 50/50 chance of being passed on because they are caused by a single faulty dominant gene.;
This means that, if you inherit a healthy gene from one parent and a faulty gene from the other parent, the faulty one will always be the one that is used because its the dominant gene.;
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Can Dementia Get Worse Suddenly
Dementia is a progressive condition, meaning that it gets worse over time. The speed of deterioration differs between individuals. Age, general health and the underlying disease causing brain damage will all affect the pattern of progression. However, for some people the decline can be sudden and rapid.
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Causes Of Alzheimers: Is It Hereditary
Increasing cases of Alzheimers disease
The Alzheimers Association states that Alzheimers disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and that more than 5 million Americans are affected by the condition. Additionally, one out of three seniors dies of Alzheimers or some other type of dementia. That number will likely increase as the aging population increases.
Scientists have been researching Alzheimers for decades, but still there is no cure. Learn more about how genes are related to the development of Alzheimers, as well as other potential causes of the condition.
Can Dementia Be Brought On By Stress
Too much stress in your life can ultimately lead to depression and dementia, scientists have warned. A major review of published research suggests that chronic stress and anxiety can damage areas of the brain involved in emotional responses, thinking and memory, leading to depression and even Alzheimer’s disease.
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What Happens To The Brain Of A Person With Dementia
The exact symptoms experienced by a person with dementia depend on the areas of the brain that are damaged by the disease causing the dementia. With many types of dementia, some of the nerve cells in the brain stop functioning, lose connections with other cells, and die. Dementia is usually progressive.
There Are Other Risk Factors That Are More Significant Than Genetics
While genetics and hereditary factors may or may not contribute much risk, other factors have been shown to lower your chance of developing Alzheimers. These include: controlled cholesterol and blood pressure, avoiding type 2;diabetes by maintaining your ideal body weight, and exercise. Socialization is another important risk factor mouse studies have found that even for mice that are bred to get Alzheimers, being housed with company led to the mice developing Alzheimers later in their lives. Human studies have also found that loneliness increases Alzheimers risk.
Anybody who has a thought or its crossed their mind about dementia risk, get with the exercise program, get with the Mediterranean diet, get with the weight loss, Lyden said. Youll do more for yourself in that respect than all the genetic tests in the world.
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So How Concerned Should I Be
Researchers have made great progress in determining the role genetics plays in Alzheimers. And theyre learning more and more each year.
But despite all this progress, the connection between family history of the disease and Alzheimers is still not fully understood.
Yes, theres evidence to suggest a family history of Alzheimers increases the risk of getting the disease. And the risk does go up if multiple family members have the disease.
However, family history isnt the only factor at play here. Things like environmental factors and lifestyle also matter. So a family history of Alzheimers does NOT mean its a sure thing youll develop the disease too.
Is There A Cure For Alzheimers
Theres no cure for Alzheimers, but one treatment may potentially delay decline from the disease, and there are drug and non-drug options that may help treat symptoms. Understanding available options can help individuals living with the disease and their caregivers to cope with symptoms and improve quality of life.
Alzheimer’s Disease And Alzheimer’s Dementia
Alzheimer’s disease is not usually hereditary. It is therefore not generally caused by the genes received from a person’s parents. Even if several members of a family have in the past been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, this does not mean that another member of the family will necessarily develop it, as the majority of cases of Alzheimer’s disease are not genetic. However, as the disease is so common amongst older people, it is not unusual for two or more family members over the age of 65 to have it.
Whether or not there are other members of a family with Alzheimer’s disease, everyone risks developing the disease at some time. However, it is now known that there is a gene, which can affect this risk. This gene is found on chromosome 19 and it is responsible for the production of a protein called apolipoprotein E . There are three main types of this protein, one of which , although uncommon, makes it more likely that Alzheimer’s dementia will occur. However, it does not cause the condition but merely increases the likelihood of developing it. For example, a person of 50, would have a 2 in 1,000 chance of developing Alzheimer’s dementia instead of the usual 1 in 1,000, but might never actually develop it. Only half of people with Alzheimer’s dementia have ApoE4 and not everyone with ApoE4 has it.
Causes Of Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease is thought to be caused by the abnormal build-up of 2 proteins called amyloid and tau.
Deposits of amyloid, called plaques, build up around brain cells. Deposits of tau form “tangles” within brain cells.
Researchers do not fully understand how amyloid and tau are involved in the loss of brain cells, but research into this is continuing.
As brain cells become affected in Alzheimer’s, there’s also a decrease in chemical messengers involved in sending messages, or signals, between brain cells.
Levels of 1 neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, are particularly low in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Medicines like donepezil increase levels of acetylcholine, and improve brain function and symptoms.
These treatments are not a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but they do help improve symptoms.
Read more about treatments for dementia.
The symptoms that people develop depend on the areas of the brain that have been damaged by the disease.
The hippocampus is often affected early on in Alzheimer’s disease. This area of the brain is responsible for laying down new memories. That’s why memory problems are one of the earliest symptoms in Alzheimer’s.
Unusual forms of Alzheimer’s disease can start with problems with vision or with language.
Read more about Alzheimer’s disease.
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Genes And Vascular Dementia
Vascular dementia is caused when blood flow to the brain is reduced, damaging nerve cells. This can happen as a result of a stroke or damage to blood vessels deep in the brain. The majority of cases of vascular dementia are not caused by faulty genes.
We may carry genes that affect our risk of stroke, heart disease or other diseases that may contribute to vascular dementia. However, lifestyle factors such as smoking, lack of exercise, obesity, drinking alcohol over the recommended limits, and an unbalanced diet can also affect our risk.
There are rare genetic disorders that can cause vascular dementia by damaging blood vessels in the brain. One is called CADASIL and can be passed down through families. CADASIL only affects around 1,000 people in the UK.
Family History Of Dementia
Individuals with a family history of dementia may be at a higher risk of developing dementia. However, this may be due to the inheritance of gene variants that increase susceptibility to dementia rather than cause it directly. In such cases, chances of getting dementia are also influenced by social and environmental factors as well as lifestyle choices.
In the case of familial dementia, genetic testing may be useful. Such genetic testing is available for genes involved in Alzheimers disease and frontotemporal dementia . This can help people to be vigilant about the signs and symptoms of dementia and increase awareness about available tests and treatments. Although there are no cures available for dementia, individuals may participate in ongoing clinical trials.
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The Cause Of The Dementia Can Vary
Dementia is really a blanket term for a number of conditions which cause, well, dementia. Huntingtons disease is an inherited disease of the brain, causing extreme dementia and eventual loss of motor functions. Alzheimers disease is not inherited in a large majority of cases, though there have been cases where its been found to have been passed on by family members. Alzheimers is common in people in their 70s and 80s, but even if you have a parent or grandparent with the disease, that doesnt necessarily mean you will inherit it yourself.
Another widespread cause of dementia is a stroke, which is not any kind of inherited disease. A stroke occurs when the brain suffers a sudden lack of blood, and therefore oxygen, usually due to some form of blockage either from a blood clot or other obstruction. The brain cells begin to die in minutes, and if not addressed quickly and efficiently, the loss of precious oxygen to those cells can do irreversible damage, often causing dementia.
Alzheimers and stroke are the two leading causes in the US of dementia, however, there are less common causes such as brain injuries due to physical trauma or certain other rare diseases.
Medical Research On Is Dementia Hereditary
Researchers believe that;dementia;is caused by diseases that are a result of the lifestyle;they lead. Rather than developing dementia from the DNA that;they have inherited from;their parents.
Some conditions that can lead to diseases of the brain in later life can be inherited. Diseases such as Huntingtons are inherited diseases and other forms of dementia such as frontotemporal dementias have a greater risk of being inherited from parent to child by as much as 50%.
In general most dementias such as Alzheimers disease and Vascular dementiaare not inherited diseases and are a consequence of the lifestyles we choose to lead. Much;more evidence;is still needed to confirm this research.
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Finding Out Your Genetic Or Hereditary Risk May Not Ultimately Affect You
Because risk factors like blood pressure and diet are more influential than genetics , you might ultimately decide that you dont really need to know your genetic or hereditary risk. Anyone, whether they have a family member with Alzheimers disease or not, can benefit from working to lower their risk.
A lot of my patients decide against . Because what are you going to do? Youre going to do diet and exercise, Lyden said. So if youre going to do diet and exercise anyway, why bother finding out that you have this gene.
If you just found out a relative has been diagnosed with Alzheimers disease, try not to jump to the conclusion that you will 100% get it, too. Science does not indicate you need to assume your diagnosis is coming. For the best chance of lowering your risk of Alzheimers, focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. And if you have a loved one with Alzheimers and are looking for support, check out these articles written by people who have been there:
What To Say To A Dementia Patient Who Wants To Go Home
Reassure the person verbally, and possibly with arm touches or hand-holding if this feels appropriate. Let the person know that they are safe. It may help to provide reassurance that the person is still cared about. They may be living somewhere different from where they lived before, and need to know theyre cared for.
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The Latest In Alzheimers And Dementia Testing
There are many tests today that can help determine whether you are at risk for Alzheimers or dementia. These include:
- Cognitive assessments. Medical professionals continue to refine their ability to evaluate and assess a persons cognitive health with motor skill and mental tests.
- Brain scans. Brain imaging can also shed light on alterations in the brain that may lead to or be causing dementia.
- Blood tests. Tests can detect a protein in the blood called NfL . It has proven to be an early biological marker for Alzheimers. Other tests can evaluate the level of amyloid and tau proteins in the blood.
- DNA testing. There are many tests available today that can detect the ApoE gene which has been associated with late-onset Alzheimers. Even genealogy companies like 23andMe can test for variants of the ApoE gene.
Will I Get Alzheimer’s If My Mom Has It
Family history by the numbers Studies of family history say that if you have a close relative who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s diseasethe most common form of dementia in older adultsyour risk increases by about 30%. This is a relative risk increase, meaning a 30% hike in your existing risk.
Is Dementia Passed On Through Our Dna
Medical research seems to suggest that it is very unlikely that dementia can be passed on through our DNA. But in rare cases, some diseases that lead to dementia can be passed on through our DNA. But it is still extremly rare that;if a family member such as a parent or grandparent has developed one of the many different kinds of dementia, that their children will inherit the disease at some stage in their life.
This is not to say that somebody with Alzheimers cannot have not passed on the disease from parent to child. It is possible they could have. In some rare cases of Alzheimers, the disease can be inherited from a parent. But this is very rare.There is a group of four;genes a person can carry that can;lead to a greater risk of Alzheimers. With 3 of the four genes being responsible for;early onset dementia in people in their 30s, 40s and 50s with the other gene being responsible for Alzheimers in older people, usually over 65 years of age.
In the majority of cases of Alzheimers ;the disease is mostly associated with old age. Most cases are diagnosed with people in their 70s and 80s which is often referred to as Senile dementia.
Cause #: Mild Cognitive Impairment
People who already have mild cognitive impairment may be at an increased risk of developing full-blown Alzheimers. A mild cognitive impairment doesnt necessarily impact a persons daily life in a major way. However, it can have some effects on memory, thinking skills, visual perception, and the ability to make sound decisions.
Scientists are trying to understand why some cases of mild cognitive impairment progress into Alzheimers. A
Do Dementia Patients Know What They Are Saying
These communication hiccups happen all the time to most people, but dementia affects the brain so that language problems become more noticeable. Someone with Alzheimers, for instance, wont remember phrases, or be able to learn new phrases. Slang and common expressions become hard or even impossible to remember.
Will You Get Alzheimer’s If Your Relative Has It
After finding out one of your parents, grandparents, siblings or other family member has Alzheimers disease, you might find yourself wondering, Does that mean Ill get Alzheimers, too? Its a natural thought, especially after you see news reports about families in which several members across multiple generations are diagnosed with the disease. But the answer to the question, If my mom had Alzheimers, does that mean Im more likely to get it? is not a simple yes or no.
Heres the short answer:
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What Are The Chances Of Getting Dementia If Your Mother Had It
Family history by the numbers Studies of family history say that if you have a close relative who has been diagnosed with Alzheimers diseasethe most common form of dementia in older adultsyour risk increases by about 30%. This is a relative risk increase, meaning a 30% hike in your existing risk.
Genetic Testing For Alzheimers Disease
A blood test can tell which APOE gene you have, but the results canât predict whether youâll get Alzheimerâs. Doctors use these tests mostly for research purposes. The test can tell them who has certain risk factors so they can watch for brain changes in case the disease develops.
Doctors donât typically recommend genetic testing for late-onset Alzheimerâs because the results can be confusing and cause emotional distress. If youâre showing symptoms or have a family history, your doctor may recommend testing to help diagnose early-onset Alzheimerâs. Doctors can usually diagnose Alzheimerâs without a genetic test.
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