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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Who is at more risk of getting dementia?

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    Alzheimer’s Australia is the charity for people with dementia and their families and carers. As the peak body, it provides advocacy, support services, education and … View Profile

    Most people with dementia are older, but it is important to remember that not all older people get dementia. It is not a normal part of ageing. Dementia can happen to anybody, but it is more common after the age of 65 years. People in their 30s, 40s and 50s can also have dementia.

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    Dr Nilakshi Weerasinghe

    Geriatrician (Aged Care Specialist)

    I am a consultant Geriatrician. I completed my training at Westmead, Prince of Wales, Blacktown and Norwest Hospitals. Currently I am employed as a Staff … View Profile

    Dementia is a neurodegenerative condition. Age is the single most common risk factor for getting dementia. If there is a strong family history of early onset dementia, before the age of 60, then those people have incereased risk as well. There are patient factors and environment factors that are important for the causation.

    There are different types of dementia like Alzheimer's, vascular, Lewy Body, Parkinson's Dementia, Fronto-Temporal and mixed. Different types have different mechanisms and pathophysiology. Alzheimer's, Vascular or a mix of the two are the commonest types of dementias at present.

    For the prevention of vascular dementia, it is important to strictly control risk factors like blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking, alcohol and obeisity. Regular physical exercises, social interactions and cognitive stimulation (such as doing cross word puzzles, sudokus and computer games) can help maintain cognitive funtions for longer. Treating conditions like sleep apnoea, hypothyroidism also have beneficial effects. Leading ahelathy lifetyle is a key factor.

     

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