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Alzheimer`s Disease/Alzheimer's Lewy Body dementia seems to be rampant in my family, am I next?


Hi Cindy, as I approach my 50th year I have undertaken to do a family tree. What is now frighteningly obvious is that I have found Alzheimer's Lewy Body dementia and or variations of dementia in 3 great Aunts and one Aunt. Having examined the symptoms I picking my Great Grand Mother and her sister also suffered dementia. Am I at risk? Have to confess to having a horrible memory that seems worse everyday is this something I should discuss with my physician? thanks

Hello Gina:  I'm very sorry to hear you are feeling so stressed by this knowledge of dementia in your family.  First some facts:  Alzheimer's is the most common type of dementia, but the inherited type is relatively rare (less than 5%) and will mostly show up as early onset--where the person displays significant symptoms before the age of 60.  There is no way to tell if your relatives had multi-infarct or vascular dementia where they were having strokes in their brains that led to the dementia, or if they had AD or LBD.  There is no solid evidence yet that Lewy Body dementia is easily inherited either.  If you feel you have a "horrible memory" then I think it would be wise to go to your doctor to have some baseline tests done.  Certainly a mini-mental test along with some basic blood tests to rule out some metabolic disorder that could mimic signs of dementia and forgetfulness.  Meanwhile, you can do A LOT to avoid getting any type of dementia and that would be everything that helps protect your heart and circulation.  Avoid the bad foods, getting daily exercise that pumps that blood and oxygen up to your brain, keeping your brain sharp with challenging activities.  Every, single thing that you do (or condition you have like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.)that slows the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain will increase your chances for some type of dementia.  Your chances of getting dementia in that way are greater than your chances of inheriting any type.  So, please be positive and pro-active.  Protect your brain and your heart and even if you do have a propensity for inheriting any type of dementia, it will take longer to show up if your brain is healthier to begin with.  Good luck to you Gina.  Cindy

Alzheimer`s Disease

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Cindy Keith, RN, BS, Certified Dementia Practitioner


As a nurse and dementia consultant, I can answer most questions on all types of dementia. If I cannot answer your question, I will attempt to find someone who can. My passion is to help caregivers of people with dementia, which in turn helps all those wonderful elders with dementia live better lives. When caregivers are better educated, they are able to better care for themselves and their loved ones, so education is key to decreased stress levels and healthier, happier families.


I have worked as a nurse in various disciplines of nursing for over 20 years, most of which was with the elderly. I was a health care coordinator in a dementia dedicated assisted living facility for 4 years before I started my own business (M.I.N.D. in Memory Care) as a dementia consultant six years ago. As a dementia consultant, I help families nationwide through phone conference calls as they struggle to care for their loved ones with dementia.

Alzheimer's Foundation of America Geriatric Interest Network Sigma Theta Tau International

Published "Love, Laughter, & Mayhem - Caregiver Survival Manual For Living With A Person With Dementia" which is a collection of stories about people with dementia I have known, loved and worked with. Every story has a lesson to teach and this book gently teaches family caregivers lessons about how to better care for their loved one, as well as themselves during their caregiving journey. Published "Love, Laughter, & Mayhem In Eldercare Facilities: The Master Key For Dementia Training" Created "Bringing Nurturing To Memory Care" staff dementia training video Created Ebook: "Hair Stylist's Helpful Tips For Working With People With Alzheimer's & Other Dementias"

Registered Nurse with Bachelor's degree in Nursing; Certified Dementia Practitioner; Author of 2 books and an ebook

Awards and Honors
Sigma Theta Tau National Honor Society of Nursing

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