Winchester Neurological Consultants in Winchester, VA, helps patients diagnosed with dementia. Dementia is a term for the effects on memory and thinking that are caused by either brain damage or diseases like Alzheimer’s Disease. The symptoms are progressive and the changes happen gradually, but lead to the patient being unable to be independent.
Dementia is most commonly associated with Alzheimer's disease, and the symptoms of memory loss and losing independence can be confusing and upsetting not just for the patient, but for close family, loved ones, and caregivers. If a family member is struggling with dementia you may be wondering if it will affect you in the future. While Alzheimer's is not passed down genetically, a lot of the risk factors for developing dementia can be passed on.
According to the Alzheimer's Association, there are two types of genes that influence whether a person develops a disease. Risk genes, which determine the likelihood someone will develop a disease, and deterministic genes, which directly cause disease. There are hereditary Alzheimer's genes in both categories, but in the vast majority of cases, Alzheimer's disease is not inherited.
Family history alone cannot determine if a person will develop dementia, but if you have a parent or sibling with Alzheimer's disease it is more likely to affect you as well. Oftentimes certain risk factors like high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes are hereditary. So parents can't pass on the disease directly to their children but can pass on certain genes that increase the risk of developing dementia.
There are more rare types of dementia that can be hereditary. Frontotemporal dementia and young-onset, familial Alzheimer’s disease are much rarer than Alzheimer's disease but are more likely to be passed on.
You are struggling with dementia or concerned about a loved one, the doctors of Winchester Neurological Consultants are here to help. Contact us in Winchester, VA, at (540) 667-1828.