The human brain must always be supplied with fresh, oxygen-rich blood – otherwise the nerve cells are threatened with rapid death. Any disease of the blood vessels can disrupt the blood flow and thus increase the risk of dementia. Atherosclerosis is particularly dangerous, in which the deposition of LDL cholesterol in the vessel walls leads to a narrowing and ultimately to a complete blockage of the bloodstream. If this happens in the brain, it comes to a stroke as well as the so-called “Vascular dementia” – the mental decline caused by insufficient blood supply to the brain tissue.
5. Diabetes mellitus
Just like high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels, diabetes also increases the risk of vascular dementia, which accounts for around 20 to 30 percent of all dementia diseases. The main reason is that constantly high blood sugar levels increase the development of vascular diseases such as arteriosclerosis. This is how the smallest Circulatory disorders damage the brain. Similar to the diabetic foot, an entire region of the body can die off due to the insufficient supply.
6. Genetic mutations
Unfortunately, factors that we cannot influence are also involved in the development of dementia. For example, rarer forms of dementia like the Lewy body dementia or the Frontotemporal dementia According to the current state of research, triggered by mutations in certain genes. In the case of Lewy body dementia, a gene mutation causes a certain protein to form and clump in the brain, which damages nerve cells.
It has long been known that cigarettes increase the risk of lung cancer. What research has only discovered in recent years, however, is its impact on the risk of dementia. Because the brain is also permanently damaged when the Blood vessels narrow with cigarette smoke and nicotine. As a result, the thinking organ is supplied with less oxygen and nutrients, which not only favors strokes, but also mental degradation. In fact, this is also shown by both animal experiments and observational studies with humans. For example, a comprehensive meta-analysis with 37 long-term studies published in the science journal PLOS ONE was published that smokers about 30 percent more often get dementia as a non-smoker. The positive news: In people who quit smoking, the risk of dementia drops back to normal after a while.