6 Known Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that mainly strikes older people, although it can occasionally strike people in their 40s and 50s. While no single cause has been determined, researchers have identified certain factors which may put people at a higher risk of developing the disease.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, here are some of the known risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s disease:
Age is the greatest risk factor for the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The older a person gets, the higher the risk is of developing the disease. One in nine people over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s disease and this figure rises to one in three for people over the age of 85.
A family history of Alzheimer’s disease will also increase a person’s chance of getting the condition, particularly if it’s a brother, sister, mother or father. The risk is greater still if more than one family member has or has had the disease.
Researchers have identified certain mutated genes associated with the disease. Anyone who inherits a copy of the APOE-e4 gene is at greater risk, and the risk is even greater if they inherit two copies of the gene.
There are also deterministic genes which, if inherited, would guarantee the onset of the disease. However, this only accounts for around 1 percent of Alzheimer’s cases and often the patients suffer from early-onset.
There is evidence to suggest that head trauma may lead to Alzheimer’s disease, particularly repeated head trauma. Help prevent head trauma by wearing a safety helmet when cycling or playing dangerous sports, wearing a seat belt in the car, and checking around the home for any tripping or falling hazards.
The risk of Alzheimer’s disease increases if a patient suffers from conditions which affect the heart, such as stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Exercising, maintaining a healthy body weight and watching what you eat will help to keep your heart healthy.
Latinos and African Americans are 1½ to two times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than Caucasians. The reason for this is unclear, although many think the higher rate of heart problems in Latinos and African Americans may be the cause.
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