What Factors Contribute to the Onset of Dementia?

Several risk factors can lead to the onset of dementia, such as Down syndrome and family history, explains Mayo Clinic. Controllable factors that can affect the risk of dementia include atherosclerosis and alcohol use. Blood pressure, depression, cholesterol, diabetes and high estrogen levels are other known risk factors. Those who smoke, are obese or have elevated homocysteine blood levels are at greater risk for dementia as well.

Many factors can contribute to early- or young-onset dementia, such as the use of antipsychotic drugs, history of stroke, alcohol use, a father with dementia, and illicit drug use, according to Healthline. Young-onset dementia occurs in people younger than 65 years old. While dementia affects around 35.6 million people, young-onset dementia occurs in 4 to 10 percent of these cases.

Patients at an advanced age have a greater chance of developing dementia, explains the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Atherosclerosis or the thickening of the vessel walls due to an accumulation of cholesterol and fats in the arterial lining can prevent blood from reaching the brain. This can then lead to several brain conditions, including stroke. When more than one family member has dementia, the likelihood of developing a form of the disorder increases as well.