Is Dementia Hereditary?

There are many different types of mental illness. One of which is dementia. And dementia is a general term for mental illness related to loss of memory and other abilities that are severe enough to affect the everyday life of a person. Most people suffering from this type of disease are the elderly. And the most popular form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease.

Having a relative with dementia is pretty challenging, especially when that relative lives with you. Because of their lack of memory and other mental abilities, they are unable to take care of themselves and so you are charged of looking after them. You have to constantly keep them in sight in order to avoid any mishap or accidents. This is why having a grandparent or a parent with dementia can be pretty troubling.

Another thing to worry about when someone in the family suffers from dementia is that if you or your children would suffer from it as well. Is dementia hereditary? You are probably asking this over and over again. You wouldn’t want to experience the same things happening to your mother or father or to your grandparents. And this question also bothers patients. They don’t want their disease to be passed on to their loved ones.

Well, it is good to know that not all forms of dementia are hereditary. The most common form of dementia, about 70 % of people with dementia, is the Alzheimer’s disease. And 99 % of the cases are not hereditary. Having someone in the family with Alzheimer’s disease does not change your chance of suffering from it in the future.

The risk factor that highly affects you contacting Alzheimer’s disease is age. As you grow older, your brain deteriorates. And this is why most people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease are within the age range of 70 to 80 years old. When you reach that age, there is a chance that you would have Alzheimer’s disease regardless whether or not your parents or grandparent had it before. Yet there are some rare cases where Alzheimer’s disease is inherited. And in these cases, the symptoms are clear even at an early age of 30.

There are also other forms of dementia that are hereditary because the cause of the dementia is hereditary. One such example is Huntington’s disease. It is a hereditary illness and a symptom of it is dementia which makes dementia hereditary in that sense. If you have contacted this illness and lived long enough, chances are you would be suffering from dementia.

There are ongoing studies about inherited dementia. And there’s still so much to learn.

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