Understanding risk factors for dementia
What do we mean by risk factors for dementia?
Risk factors you can't change
Genetics of dementia
High blood pressure and dementia
A lifelong approach to good health is the best way to lower your risk of dementia. Learn more about the effects of high blood pressure and the risk factors of dementia.
Physical exercise and dementia
Of all the lifestyle changes that have been studied, taking regular physical exercise appears to be one of the best things that you can do to reduce your risk of getting dementia.
Mediterranean diet and dementia
Head injury and dementia
There is increasing evidence of a link between such brain injuries and dementia. Find out more about head injuries as a risk factor.
Smoking and dementia
There is strong evidence that smoking can increase your risk of dementia. Not everyone who smokes will get dementia, but stopping smoking is thought to reduce your risk down to the level of non-smokers.
Alcohol and dementia
Alcohol consumption in excess has well-documented negative effects on both short- and long-term health, one of which is brain damage that can lead to Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia.
Infections and dementia
Several infections have been suggested to increase risk of Alzheimer's disease, but the evidence behind it is not clear cut.
Aluminium, metals and dementia
The ability of metals from food or cookware to cause Alzheimer's disease is a regular concern in the news. Here's the evidence behind the presence of metals such as copper, zinc, iron and aluminium.
Air pollution and dementia
Air pollution has been a focus of several studies on cognitive impairment and dementia risk. There is evidence that tiny air pollution particles can enter the brain, but at this time we can’t say if they play a role in the development of dementia. There is a strong case for further research into the effect of air pollution on brain health.
Hormones and dementia
Learn about hormones and other reasons women may be more likely to develop dementia than men.
Brain training and dementia
Brain training includes activities to challenge the brain, such as crosswords, Sudoku puzzles and bespoke computer games. Here we discuss the evidence and the claims made by commerical game providers.
Omega-3 and dementia
Cholesterol and dementia
Research suggests a possible connection between high cholesterol and dementia.
Antioxidants and dementia
There are different types of antioxidant, each of which has a slightly different role. We explain the general term 'antioxidants' and provide guidance around their potential benefits in relation to dementia.
Cinnamon and dementia
Though some of the extracts of cinnamon may warrant investigation to try and establish new treatments, cinnamon itself is not a treatment for Alzheimer's disease.
Caffeine and dementia
We explore the effect of caffeine, and by extension coffee, to establish whether there is a link between this and developing dementia.
Turmeric and dementia
General anaesthetics and dementia
Complications with research means it is not clear whether general anaesthetics are known to increase dementia risk. Anyone who is going to have surgery should talk to their doctor first about the possible risks and benefits.
Genetic testing kits and dementia
The genetics behind Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia is complex, and DNA testing kits like 23andme cannot tell the complete story about a person's risk of developing the condition.