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Is dementia inevitable? - video transcript

Although dementia is associated with ageing, it is not inevitable. Learn more from an expert about the risk factors of dementia such as ageing, smoking and high cholesterol and blood pressure.

Video transcript

Susan

Mum's memory loss has been getting worse over the years. Everyone says it's just old age, and we're all going to get old. Is dementia inevitable?

Professor Susan Kurrle

So dementia is definitely associated with ageing. At 65, you have a 1 in 9 chance of having a dementia. By 80, it's 1 in 4. By 90, it's 1 in 2. So you can see that dimension is associated with ageing, but it's not inevitable.

Susan

What are the things that might put me at risk of dementia that I could do something about?

Professor Susan Kurrle

Definite risk factors for dementia are increasing age. We know as you get older, your chance of getting dementia increases. There are number of possible or probable factors for dementia. Head injury is one of these. We know that if you are knocked out for more than 10 seconds and have sustained a significant head injury, then your chances of Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia are increased.

Smoking is also a risk factor for dementia, and 14% of all cases of dementia can be attributed to people who smoke. Diabetes is also known to be a risk factor for dementia, particularly Alzheimer's disease. And obesity in midlife is also a risk factor.

We also know if you have high cholesterol and high blood pressure in midlife, this increases your risk of developing dementia. We know if you've been a sedentary individual, so you haven't exercised enough, that increases your risk of dementia. If you don't exercise your brain enough, that also increases your risk of dementia.

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Last reviewed: January 2016

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