7 Surprising Dementia Risk Factors

7 Surprising Dementia Risk Factors

(AscendHealthy.com) – Dementia is a stressful and upsetting disease, and every year nearly 10 million people around the world are diagnosed with it. The average age of dementia onset in the United States is 83.7 years, but “early-onset” dementia can happen to people beginning in their 40s. Are you at higher than normal risk for this condition? There are some surprising risk factors you may want to consider.

1. Snoring

Most people snore once in a while. But for people who have a condition called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), chronic snoring may be a sign that their breathing is stopping and starting multiple times per night. Not only has OSA been linked to several health conditions, but a study in the journal Sleep has also indicated it may be linked to a higher risk of developing dementia. The good news is that treatment for sleep apnea may mean reducing one’s dementia risk, too.

2. Hearing Loss

Anyone who experiences hearing loss in middle age may find that they are more socially isolated as a result. According to a journal article in The Lancet, that might translate to higher dementia risk. People need social interaction to keep their brains as healthy as possible. If we are isolated because of lifestyle choices, hearing loss, or other circumstances, we lose the protection that social interaction generally provides to assist with improved brain function in our later years.

3. Dizziness

Standing up too fast and becoming dizzy may be caused by several maladies, among them orthostatic hypotension, a relatively common condition. One reason it may occur is that blood doesn’t travel to the brain fast enough when the person stands up, leaving them momentarily dizzy. This drop in blood pressure when standing has been associated with an increased risk of dementia as high as 15%, according to a study in PLOS Medicine.

4. Calcium Supplements

Many people take extra calcium for strong, healthy bones, but they may be doing their brain a disservice in the process. A study in the journal Neurology found that women who were already experiencing cerebrovascular disease increased their risk of dementia when they added calcium supplements to their diet. Stroke survivors had the greatest dementia risk from calcium supplementation in this study.

5. Diet Soda

Artificial sweeteners often get a bad rap, and part of the reason for that may be the increased risk of dementia they might cause. A study in the journal Stroke indicated that people who had a higher consumption of diet sodas and artificial sweeteners may be up to three times more likely to develop dementia than those who drank less of these beverages. There are other factors to consider, but this is an issue worthy of consideration.


Most people who are diagnosed with ADHD are children, but nearly 4% of adults have the condition, as well. For people diagnosed as adults, a study in the Journal of Attention Disorders indicates that there may be a higher risk of cognitive impairment issues like dementia later in life. The risk was 3.4 times higher for ADHD adults over 10 years, as compared to adults who were not diagnosed with any type of attention deficit issue.

7. An Anxious Personality

People who are prone to worry and stress may have a greater chance of developing dementia. They may also see a stronger level of cognitive decline if they do develop the disease, according to a study in The Journals of Gerontology. The exact reason for some of this heightened risk is not known. However, the study indicates that the level of stress and worry a person experiences over time takes a toll on the body — and that includes the brain.

While it’s not always possible to control whether you develop dementia or other health conditions, there may be ways to reduce your risk. Controlling the conditions discussed here, working with a healthcare professional, eating a healthy, well-balanced diet known to reduce the risk for dementia like the Mediterranean Diet and getting moderate amounts of exercise may help you lower your overall risk of developing dementia as you age.

~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension

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