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Possible risks of dementia

Some health or lifestyle factors have been connected with dementia. But these do not have enough evidence to say that they are major risk factors.

Behavioural risk factors

Some habits or behaviours can be associated with dementia, such as not getting enough sleep or taking caffeinated drinks. But more research is needed to properly understand the connection. 

Medical risk factors

Research  has shown a link between dementia and infections like herpes and pneumonia. But more research is needed to see if infections contribute to the development of dementia. 

Other medical factors, like cholesterol and general anaesthetic, do not have enough evidence to say that they increase a person’s risk of developing dementia.

Environmental risk factors

There is no strong evidence to suggest that exposure to metals like copper, zinc, iron and aluminium increases a person’s risk of dementia.

How we support you

Get advice and information, whether you are worried about your memory, waiting for a referral or already diagnosed.

  • Call our support line to speak to a trained adviser
  • Visit our online forum to hear from people in the same situation

Get our booklet on reducing your risk of dementia

Dementia: Reducing your risk

If you prefer to read this information in print, our 60 page booklet 'Dementia: Reducing your risk' has full advice and guidance.

Get it by post for free or view the PDF to download a copy.

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Last reviewed: December 2023

Next review: December 2025