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​​Is Dementia Hereditary?

Dementia is a complex disease that affects both the patient’s and the family’s well-being. It is a condition that is difficult to deal with, which is why a lot of people would be curious to know if dementia is a problem that can be inherited from the parent to a child. 

Genetics and Dementia

Genetics are involved in the development of dementia, but it is not as simple. There are two types of genetic links:

  • Deterministic genes: The genes directly cause dementia and ensure that the person will definitely get the disease – these genes are very rare. 
  • Risk genes: These are genes that increase the likelihood that the person will get dementia, but they do not guarantee that a person with them will develop it. ApoE-e4 is the gene that is linked to Alzheimer's and it makes it the most discussed risk gene.

Epigenetics

Although genes are important in the development of dementia, they don't explain everything. A part of genetics that is involved in studying the influence of the environment and lifestyle on genes is called epigenetics. It shows how your lifestyle and environment can change the way your genes work. Think of it as a set of switches that can turn your genes on or off, affecting your risk of diseases like dementia. Some things can decrease your risk of dementia, such as:

  • eating healthy foods,
  • staying active,
  • managing stress.

And some things can increase your risk of developing dementia, such as:

  • smoking,
  • pollution,
  • chronic stress.

This means that even if you have genes that make you more likely to get dementia, you're not powerless. By making smart choices about how you live, you can influence these genes and help keep your brain healthier for longer.

Prevention of Dementia

Knowing who will end up with the disease is a complex issue even if genetic testing is employed. It is suggested only to members of the family who are strong relatives of the disease. For the majority of people on the planet, healthier living is the most effective strategy to keep dementia at bay.

So, is dementia hereditary? Genetics have a particular influence, but they are not definitive in causing dementia. Despite the fact that you might have a family history of dementia, you can still adapt your lifestyle to reduce your risk. An active lifestyle can be a driving force for your mental health.

Credits:

Is Alzheimer's Genetic?

Genetics of Dementia

Is dementia hereditary?

Sharma, V. K., Mehta, V., & Singh, T. G. (2020). Alzheimer’s disorder: Epigenetic connection and associated risk factors. Current Neuropharmacology, 18(8), 740–753. 

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