A chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease or injury and marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and impaired reasoning.


Dementia is a general term for loss of memory and other mental abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life. It is caused by physical changes in the brain.


Many dementias have unknown causes (Alzheimers, Korsakoff, LBD, PCA). Others can be due to:

  • Damaged blood vessels (Vascular Dementia)
  • Genetics (CJD, Down Syndrome, FTD, Huntington’s)
  • Head injury, infection, inflammation (NPH)


Risk Factors

  • Age
  • Alcohol Use
  • History of Cardiovascular Disease
  • Family History
  • Genetics
  • Nutritional Deficiencies
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Smoking


It is difficult to prevent dementia, as many causes are unknown. However, the following lifestyle changes can benefit all adults:

  • Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • Exercise (aim for 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week)
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Manage chronic diseases
  • Quit Smoking
  • Socially connect
  • Stay mentally alert (do puzzles, take up a hobby, read)


Getting vaccinated is an important step in staying healthy.

The CDC recommends all adults receive:

  • Influenza – recommended every year, age 6 months and older
  • Tdap – (if an adult did not receive it as an adolescent to protect against pertussis (whooping cough), and then a Td (tetanus, diphtheria) booster shot every 10 years.

As people age, their immune systems tend to weaken over time. The CDC therefore recommends that adults over the age of 55 also receive:

Talk to your doctor about which other vaccines are right for you.

COVID-19 and Dementia

While dementia does not likely increase the risk of contracting COVID-19, dementia-related behaviors, increased age, and chronic health conditions may increase risk.


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