In most cases, doctors don’t know why some people get the illnesses that cause dementia, but other people don’t. They are working hard to find out more about dementia.
Here are some facts we do know:
When somebody you know is very ill, it can make you worry that you (or someone else in your family) might become ill too.
Lots of different factors contribute to someone getting an illness that causes dementia. This means that it’s impossible to predict exactly who will get them so it can seem to happen by chance.
Having a relative with one of these illnesses does not mean that you are much more likely to get dementia when you are older.
A few, very rare, types of dementia are genetic, which means that they can be passed down from one family member to another. People can only have this kind of dementia if their mother or father had it. Only a very small number of people have these types of dementia, and not everyone in their family will get the illness.
If you are worried about dementia, ask for help to find out more. Everyone with dementia is different, so internet search engines don’t always lead you to the right answers. The best people to ask are the doctors or nurses caring for your relative.
This information was updated in December 2017 and is due for review in December 2019. Please contact us if you would like a version with references.