Dementia is the name given a group of symptoms linked to an ongoing decline in brain function.
The most common types of dementia in the UK include Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease is caused by an abnormal build-up of proteins in or around brain cells, while vascular dementia is caused by a reduced blood flow to the brain.
The risk factors for each dementia varies. But who is more likely to develop dementia, men or women?
Women are more likely to have Alzheimer’s disease than men, according to the Alzheimer’s Society.
There’s a higher risk in women, even after discounting their longer life expectancy.
The exact reason why women are more at risk of the dementia isn’t entirely understood, but it’s believed to be related to their genetic makeup.
But, men are more likely to develop vascular dementia, the charity warned.
“Some risk factors for dementia can’t be changed,” it said. “The most important are a person’s age, genes, sex and ethnic origin.
“Women are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than men [even allowing for the fact that women on average live longer].
“Men are at slightly higher risk of vascular dementia. For most other forms of dementia, women and men have much the same risk.”
While gender plays a role in the risk of developing some brain conditions, age is the strongest risk factor.
When someone reaches the age of 65, their risk of developing Alzheimer’s or vascular dementia doubles every five years.
About one in every 14 people over 65 are affected by dementia, and one in six in people over 80 years old.
South Asian individuals seem to develop dementia more often than white Europeans, the charity revealed.
Different types of dementia can affect people differently, and symptoms will vary among individuals, said the NHS.
Common early warning signs of dementia include memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and finding it difficult to carry out familiar, everyday tasks.
The symptoms tend to get worse over time, and may lead to mobility problems, communication difficulty, and incontinence.
Diagnosing dementia early is crucial, as it gives patients access to treatments that could improve symptoms.
Speak to a doctor if you’ve been having dementia signs that are have been affecting your daily life for longer than six months.