Dementia Web - Dementia Information Resource for Oxfordshire

DementiaWeb - Dementia Information Resource for Oxfordshire

Causes of Dementia

What Causes Dementia?

There are a number of diseases and conditions that can cause dementia. You can find out more about these in our section Types of Dementia.

For many people however there is still the question "Why?"

Dementia becomes more common the older we get, and is slightly more common in women than in men. But what causes some people to have Alzheimer's disease, or another type of dementia, and not other people?


Some conditions causing dementia, such as Huntington's disease, are hereditary.

People who have Downs' syndrome seem to be at increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

It is thought that there may be genetic risk factors for Alzheimer's disease, but the vast majority of cases do not have a direct family link.

You can read more in the Alzheimer's Society factsheet Genetics and dementia.

Blood Pressure and Heart Disease

High blood pressure and heart/vascular disease are linked to increased risk of developing dementia.

The Alzheimer's Society has a booklet about vascular dementia, available to download from their website.

As well as increased risk of vascular dementia, people who have high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels also have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

Head Injuries

People who have had a serious head injury (e.g. a car accident), or repeated head injuries (e.g. professional boxers), are at increased risk of developing dementia.

Further Information and Research

Research is ongoing, and suggestions about diet, lifestyle, and possible environmental links to dementia are often found in the newspapers.

You may find the following Alzheimer's Society factsheets of interest:

If you are interested in taking part in dementia research you may wish to contact the Oxford Project To Investigate Memory & Ageing (OPTIMA). : funded and managed by Guideposts with support from the Big Lottery Fund