There does not appear to be a single cause of dementia. Research to date suggests a combination of factors affect your overall risk of developing it.
You cannot do anything about factors such as your age or genetics but you can make changes to your lifestyle.
This is the most significant risk factor and chances of developing dementia increase with age.
This seems to be more significant if you develop dementia under the age of 65. In the majority of cases the significance of inheritance seems small. If a parent or other relative develops it, your own chances are only a little higher than if there were no cases in your family.
People who follow a healthy lifestyle that protects their heart and blood vessels and who enjoy active and fulfilling lives have been shown to have a lower risk of dementia. Therefore aim to:
- eat a varied diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables
- eat less salty and fatty foods, particularly avoiding those high in saturated fat
- drink alcohol in moderation
- stop smoking
- take regular exercise
- enjoy an active life with plenty of outside interests that exercise body and mind
- ask your GP to check your blood pressure and cholesterol
- keep your blood glucose well controlled if you have diabetes