Dementia is a term used to describe a series of symptoms associated with a decline in thinking or memory skills. It is severe enough to affect a person’s daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of all dementia cases. The second most common type of dementia occurs after a stroke and is called vascular dementia. Contrary to popular belief, dementia is not a normal part of aging. Dementia is caused by brain cell damage.
Heavy smokers are greatly at risk for developing dementia. A Finland study showed that people from the age of 50 to 60 who smoked two packs of cigarettes daily were twice as likely to develop dementia. Elderly people who smoke are especially at an increased risk of dementia. The study also showed that people who used to smoke or people who smoked very little did not appear to be at an increased risk for dementia.