6 Known Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s Disease

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by Wendy Henderson |

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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 one 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.

Family History
A family history of Alzheimer’s disease will also increase a person’s chance of getting the condition, particularly if it is a brother, sister, mother or father. The risk is greater 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. This only accounts for around 1 percent of Alzheimer’s cases and often the patients suffer from early-onset.

MORE: Tracking early-onset Alzheimer’s patients could be key to the cure.

Head Injury
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.

Heart Health
The risk of Alzheimer’s disease increases if a patient suffers from conditions that can 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 keep your heart healthy.

Latinos and African Americans are 1 1/2 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.

MORE: Five surprising things that could trigger Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.