Is Dementia Hereditary? (Public article)

Public article

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By Jane Verity © dementiacareinternational

People who have a close relative with dementia may ask themselves, ‘Is this hereditary? Will I get it too?’ This question is understandably connected with great fear and uncertainty.

When you hear about Alzheimer’s being hereditary, it is related to a particular gene that is connected with the 21st chromosome. However, just because a person has this gene, it does not mean it will manifest in dementia symptoms. David Snowdon, an epidemiologist in charge of an independent study on Alzheimer’s involving 678 nuns, found that while two siblings shared the same Alzheimer gene, one or both may never develop the symptoms.

In reality, research has shown that there is only a 2 – 5% chance that Alzheimer’s has a genetic link. In many situations, there is no direct link between a person’s neurological changes and the degree of dementia symptoms. Dementia is not a disease, but an umbrella term to describe a group of symptoms such as memory loss and confusion. There are over 70 different conditions that can cause dementia symptoms.

As we age, we become more conscious of when you forget names, memories, or misplace familiar objects because of society’s strong focus on Alzheimer’s and dementia. It is only natural that many older people may make a connection with their personal experience and the symptoms of dementia. This is in contrast to younger people who may place little importance on the experience of forgetting a person’s name or misplacing their keys.

Many things in our daily lives play a part in our ability to use our memory. One factor is that thousands of pieces of information bombard the senses every minute of the day, making it difficult to be focused in the moment. You may also be completing one activity whilst already thinking about the next task.

Further Reading

  • Is Dementia Hereditary? – Extended Members Article – People who have a close relative with dementia may ask themselves, ‘Is this hereditary? Will I get it too?’ This question is understandably connected with great fear & uncertainty.
  • The Nun Study – Extended Members Article – Jane Verity (Learn details of Dr. David Snowdon’s amazing findings including an important link between Alzheimer’s disease, stroke & diet; learn how nutrition can help us live longer, healthier lives without Alzheimer’s; plus discover some critical factors & interesting influences associated with Alzheimer’s.)
  • 3 Powerful Myths about Dementia – Extended Members Article – (Discover the one thing people with dementia & children do have in common; learn how we react to a behaviour is how others will interpret that behaviour; plus, how our attitudes & actions can help people with dementia be valued & accepted. We also dispel 2 further powerful myths 1. People with dementia don’t know what they like, need or want. 2. People with dementia can’t learn new things; plus learn the 5 points critical to storing long term memories.)