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Can Family History and Lifestyle Habits Affect Your Chances of Developing Dementia?

There are a few risk factors involving family history and lifestyle habits that may make you more predisposed to developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Memory issues are frequently a natural side effect of aging, but severe memory issues and mental decline that disrupt daily life could be signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. 

Take the time to review family medical records and consider your lifestyle habits to prepare for the future.

Family History

  • Diagnosed Dementia: Family members with confirmed cases of dementia increase your risk of developing memory problems.
  • Genetics: Science suggests that over 20 genetic variants have been linked to an increased risk of dementia.
  • Cardiovascular Disease: Cardiovascular issues can directly impact your brain and memory. Protect your heart by quitting smoking and keeping blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar under control.
  • Diabetes: Diabetes can lead to brain inflammation and cause memory issues if untreated. If your family has a high diagnosis of diabetes, make sure to get your A1C checked annually and keep blood sugar and insulin levels stable.

Lifestyle Habits

  • Age: Decreased memory function is a normal part of aging. Dementia is most common in seniors over the age of 65, though early onset is a possibility.
  • Repeated Head Trauma: Head injuries have been connected to memory problems, especially repeated concussions.
  • Excessive Drinking: Alcohol directly impacts the brain and consuming too much alcohol has shown to be connected to early-onset dementia.
  • Medication: Some medications can cause confusion or fogginess. If you’re just starting a new medication, research the possible side effects and inform your doctor of any changes to your memory.

When in doubt, talk to your doctor about any new issues you’re experiencing with memory. Consider opening communication with your family and friends to see if they have noticed you being more forgetful than usual or exhibiting dramatic mood swings. There is no guaranteed way to prevent dementia, but being aware of family history and personal lifestyle choices can help strengthen your brain and prepare for the future.

Willow River is Here to Help

At Willow River, we understand the challenges that Alzheimer’s and dementia can bring. If you have questions or need help, Willow River has the answers and resources you need. Call Willow River Senior Living at 888-546-1886 to start the conversation today.