Causes of dementia

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article

Alzheimer’s disease causes more than half of all cases of dementia.

In 25% of cases, dementia is caused by blockages in the small blood vessels in the brain, which is known as vascular dementia. Trauma or head injury has been shown to result in dementia in about 15% of cases. People with diabetes and hypertension are also at risk of getting dementia.

There are a number of other common causes of dementia, which include:

- Chronic infections

- Poor nutrition

- Heavy drinking over a long period of time

- Parkinson’s disease

- Hypothyroidism

- Brain tumours

- Multiple sclerosis

- Renal (kidney) failure

- Liver disorders

- Inherited disorders such as Huntington’s disease and Tay-Sachs disease

-  Vitamin B1 (thiamine) or B12 deficiency

- Toxins (e.g. heavy metal poisoning)

Read more: 

What is dementia?

Treating dementia

Symptoms of dementia

Reviewed by Dr Duncan Ian Rodseth, MB Bch MMed (psych). Consultant Psychiatrist in private practice, Parktown Johannesburg. March 2015

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Show Comments ()
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.