A dementia diagnosis can be frightening, not only for the person affected but also for their loved ones.
It prompts more questions than can be answered straight away. One that is frequently asked is: ‘Is dementia hereditary?’
It is natural for those impacted to have concerns, worried that the risk is higher of their children or grandchildren being diagnosed in the same way later.
While there is still ongoing research into dementia and its causes, more recent studies suggest that 99 per cent of Alzheimer’s cases (the most prevalent type of dementia) are not hereditary.
Genetic links to dementia have only been seen in rarer forms of the disease, but they only account for a small proportion of overall cases.
However, as research into the different forms of dementia and its underlying causes continues, the answers we have now will change and evolve.
Dementia comes in many different forms, and each has its underlying causes, some of which include genetic factors.
Here, we’ll take a look at some of the most common types of dementia and discuss what is known at the moment about the role genetics have to play.
Around 16,000 people in the UK live with frontotemporal dementia, making it relatively rare when looking at dementia as a whole.
However, this also means that there is a higher probability that it will be passed on to children or grandchildren.
That being said, most cases are not genetically inherited; only 40 per cent of people who develop this type of dementia have a relative that has also been diagnosed.
In most instances, vascular dementia is not inherited and instead is brought about by underlying health conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
However, it is important to acknowledge that these health conditions can also be passed genetically and socially through generations, increasing their risk of developing vascular dementia if not addressed.
Any genetic factors that increase the risk of vascular dementia are the same that put individuals at risk of a stroke, heart disease and other vascular issues.
Consequently, it is essential to maintain an active lifestyle to help reduce the risk of vascular issues and vascular dementia.
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