Is dementia hereditary? - AgingCare.com

Is dementia hereditary?

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My mother has dementia, her brother died from dementia, and their mother (my grandmother) died from dementia. Brings up the question....will I get dementia, and will my kids get dementia? I am 58, and my husband tells me that he has noticed I have more times of confusion than I used to. Is this dementia, or stress related from caring for my mom?

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I'm also 58 and my darling husband just loves to jump on my lapses in memory too...they distract from all of his (he is 66, and he never did bother to really try to organize anything...but that's another story). Aging reduces certain aspects of memory, as does stress, as does depression, as does having huge endless do-lists with multiple categories and priorities.

Dementia is pretty common, especially the multifactorial kind like vascular dementia; Alzheimer's' type is pretty common too. Autosomal dominant dementia of either type is rare. If you are just now having symptoms and don't have an absolutely terrific migraine history, you probably do not have CADASIL (vascular or fronto-temporal type). APOE gene variants are risk factors for late-onset Alzheimer's and do not mean you "will" get it. About 13% of early-onset (under 65) Alzheimer's is dominantly inherited which means you could have a 50% chance of getting it - these are the APP, PSEN1, or PSEN2 genes.

What that boils down to is if your familial dementia was all late onset (again, defined as over 60-70's) and/or vascular you can reduce your risk by leading a healthy, active lifestyle physically and cognitively, and eating a healthy diet; if it was early onset and the family pedigree suggests autosomal dominant inheritance, there are genes that can be tested for, but only if you definitely want to know. If you really have reason to suspect that, an adult genetics service could help you. I suspect a cheaper and equally private way to look at this would be to go to 23 and me or the like and then download your results and run them through an online utility like Promethease, but again, don't do that unless you really need to and really know what you are getting into.

I have dementia on both sides of my family too, all vascular or frontotemporal and with large contributions from diabetes and hypertension, all later onset, nothing AD or other monogenic as far as I or Promethease can tell. So, I have long term care insurance. Plus I work out a lot, I do crosswords, and now that the sun is out again, I think I should not be sitting here behind a computer much longer today!!
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Yes, my dad's side also showed a history of dementia in his mother. I will talk to my doctor next time I go. Actually, my husband is absolutely wonderful with the ways he supports me, and will quite often go to see mom when he can see I need a break. He is very concerned about me and my health with all of this going on. I wouldn't trade him for the world!
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The gene that researchers think, yes think, they have associated with Alzheimer's is the APO€4. Though it is not conclusive. Some people do very well cognitively, evenin their 90's, while some have cognitive issues in their 50's. It is very unpredictable. I would stop listening to my husband and ask him to relieve me so I could get some time to myself. Yes, it is also true that caregiving stress can cause cognitive issues.
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I also worry about getting dementia and my doctor says that a lot of stress from caregiving can make you feel confused at time. Boy was she right regarding the stress.

By the way, there are two sides to every family. You mentioned your Mom's side of the family, what about your Dad's side? For all you know, you could have inherited more from your Dad's side of the family then from your Mom's side.

Not only the stress of trying to help an elder, but also the added stress of a spouse/sig other who just cannot remove himself from watching sports to help me :(
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No one but a Dr. can diagnose you with dementia but it does run in families. There's a test you can submit to that will tell you if you have the gene that causes dementia but it's not covered by insurance and is very expensive. And the test doesn't tell you you're going to get dementia, just if you're genetically pre-disposed to it.
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