What Causes Dementia As You Get Older?

Dr. Dean Foti, MD, FRCPC, Behavioural Neurologist, discusses the cause and risk of dementia.

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Dr. Dean Foti, MD, FRCPC, Behavioural Neurologist, discusses the cause and risk of dementia.
Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Dean Foti, MD, FRCPC, Behavioural Neurologist
Duration: 1 minute, 25 seconds
Dementia can affect people, really, at any age, though of course the biggest risk factor for dementia is getting older, so by far the rate of dementia increases by, it essentially doubles every five years after the age of 60. 
So by the time you’re in your mid-80s, about 20 percent of the population would have dementia, and about 40 percent of people over the age of 90 develop dementia. Most commonly it would be as you’re older, but you can also see it when you’re young, in your 30s and 40s, but much less frequently.
Families often ask, “What is my risk of developing dementia?” and in the general population, your risk in your lifetime is about 15 percent. But if you do have a family member that’s affected, like a parent, your risk does increase to about 22 percent, but it’s still much lower than half or 100 percent that a lot of people seem to think will face them as they get older. 
So we tell family members the risk is increased, but not that much in absolute terms, and you can do a number of things to prevent dementia, to keep your risk lower. And if you really are concerned about your family history, then I would encourage you to see your family doctor, and they might be able to refer you to a clinic near you that has a genetic counselor, and they can discuss that more with you. 




Presenter: Dr. Dean Foti, Neurologist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Neurologist

Video Quiz ( 48 participated.)

Test your knowledge by answering the following questions:


If you have a parent with dementia you are almost certainlygoing to get dementia yourself. 


It is not fully understood what the exact cause of dementiais. 


Doctorsnow understand some very simple things that people can do to help prevent theprogression of dementia, such as getting regular exercise.

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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