THE 5 DEMENTIA RISK DOMAINS

DEMOGRAPHICS

Age, sex, race, country of residence, and level of formal education are all factors that increase or decrease your risk of developing dementia. Unfortunately, we have very little impact on our risk profile in the demographics domain.

BIOMARKERS

Certain genetic variations can increase or decrease your risk of developing Alzheimer's. Known as susceptibility genes, the most important one is apolipoprotein. Having a higher- or lower-risk gene variant does not mean that you will or will not develop Alzheimer's or another form of dementia. It just means that you have a higher or lower risk in the biomarker domain.

LIFESTYLE

Lifestyle factors are adaptable. They are simply the behaviors and ways of life that influence your health and wellbeing. Examples of lifestyle factors include diet, exercise, sleep, smoking, alcohol, and stress management. You can significantly influence your risk of dementia by making changes in the lifestyle domain.

MEDICAL

Research shows that being overweight or obese, having diabetes, depression, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and high LDL cholesterol all significantly increase your risk for developing Alzheimer's. Take control of your health and wellness to lower your dementia risk in the medical domain.

ENVIRONMENTAL

Environmental risk factors for dementia include things like air, water, food, soil, and products we use for cleaning and personal care. Minimizing your exposure to toxins in the world around you to improve your dementia risk profile in the environmental domain.

THE 5 DEMENTIA RISK DOMAINS

Demographics

Age, sex, race, country of residence, and level of formal education are all factors that increase or decrease your risk of developing dementia. Unfortunately, we have very little control over most of this.

Biomarkers

Mutation or variation? It makes a difference.

Very rarely, people are born with a mutation in the presenilin 1, presenilin 2, or the amyloid precursor protein (APP) genes. This is known as familial Alzheimer's and it accounts for approximately 5% of all cases of Alzheimer's disease.

The vast majority of dementia cases, however, are multifactorial disorders. This means there is not one single known cause. Rather, the condition is caused by a combined range of risk factors. 

Certain genetic variations can increase or decrease your risk of developing Alzheimer's. Known as susceptibility genes, the most important one is apolipoprotein. Having a higher- or lower-risk gene variant does not mean that you will or will not develop Alzheimer's or another form of dementia. It just means that you have a higher or lower risk in the biomarker domain.

Imagine if you will, a set of identical twins. Each twin is born with a genetic variant that tells her body to absorb fat twice as fast as the average person. One twin lives watches what she eats and exercises regularly. The other twin eats poorly and leads a sedentary lifestyle. By middle age, one identical twin is morbidly obese and the other twin is slender. As identical twins, they both started life with the exact same genetic makeup but - due to lifestyle factors - their genes expressed differently. One sister "turned on" her fat-absorption genetic variant, the other did not.

While you cannot control what genes you are born with, you do have some control over how those genes express. 

Lifestyle factors influence the expression of your susceptibility genes, including apolipoprotein.

Lifestyle

Lifestyle factors are adaptable. They are simply the behaviors and ways of life that influence your health and wellbeing. Examples of lifestyle factors include diet, exercise, sleep, smoking, alcohol, and stress management. 

The most highly modifiable risk domain, research shows that lifestyle has a significant and direct influence on your chances of developing Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. Poor nutrition, a sedentary lifestyle, excessive alcohol consumption, and ineffective stress management are lifestyle factors that lead to medical conditions like obesity, depression, and diabetes. Lifestyle not only affects how your genes express, but it also influences your medical risk for developing dementia.

Medical

Research shows that being overweight or obese, having diabetes, depression, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and high LDL cholesterol all significantly increase your risk for developing Alzheimer's. Chronic inflammation contributes to all of these diseases and is known to be a primary risk factor for all chronic conditions, including dementia. 


Certain medications known as anticholinergics are associated with an increased risk of dementia, especially when used by people over age 65. Anticholinergics act on the cholinesterase receptors in the brain and as we age, our blood-brain barrier gets less effective, allowing more of these drugs to cross over into the brain. These include common prescription and over-the-counter drugs like anti-depressants, sleep aids, antihistamines, and heartburn medications.

Environmental

Environmental risk factors for dementia include things like air, water, food, soil, and products we use for cleaning and personal care. Most people have little to no control over the soil in which their food is grown, outdoor air quality, or the quality of our local water supply. But all of these factors increase or decrease your risk for multifactorial disorders like dementia, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. 

By minimizing your exposure to environmental toxins, you can improve your dementia risk profile. Toxins are all around us in the form toxic molds and mildews, heavy metals, and PFC's from plastics. They are in our house cleaning and personal care products. Becoming an informed consumer of your health means learning which of these factors you can control and taking action to get them out of your body.

 

VitaV Wellness In Aging

© 2018 - 2020 by Tamara Claunch