The Risk for Alzheimer’s disease, in Our Control or Not?

alzheimer generation

There are certain risk factors, such as family history, genetics, and age that are beyond our control, but there are some that can be mitigated with early intervention and maintenance. Let us examine the two sets of risk factors to better understand how we can take action to defend ourselves or loved ones from this devastating disease.

Risk factors that we cannot change are:

1. Age

The data shows us that age is a significant factor in developing Alzheimer’s, but we do not fully understand why. Among those aged 85 or older, one in three were found to have the disease. Compare this to one in nine among those aged 65 or beyond.

2. Family history

Family history is a good predicator for many health conditions. If one of your parents or siblings has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s your chance for developing the disease is increased.

3. Genetics

Scientific study has found that genes play an integral part in Alzheimer’s. Genes that have a causal role in the disease fall into two categories: deterministic genes and risk genes. Let’s look at each type.
• Deterministic genes are the direct cause of developing a disease. Scientists have found three proteins where the genetic coding is deviant: presenilin-1 (PS-1), amyloid precursor protein (APP) and presenilin-2 (PS-2). Autosomal dominant Alzheimer’s disease (ADAD) is the name given to Alzheimer’s when one of these deterministic genes is the cause. It could impact several generations within a family and the symptoms usually appear before the patient reaches the age of 60. However, deterministic genes are found in a very few hundreds of families throughout the world.
• Risk genes may be present, but it does not mean that Alzheimer’s is guaranteed to develop. To date, several risk genes have been discovered by Alzheimer’s researchers: apolipoprotein E-e4 appears to have the greatest influence on developing the disease. The gene is present in approximately 20-25% of Alzheimer’s cases. There are two other configurations of the APOE gene, the other two being APOE-e2 and APOE-e3. It is important to remember that even if the gene is inherited from both parents, it does not mean that it is guaranteed you will develop Alzheimer’s. The APOE-e4 gene also seems to be responsible for earlier onset of Alzheimer’s.

alzheimers disease with two trees

Risk factors that we can impact:

There is nothing we can do to change our genetic makeup or family medical histories. What are some of the factors we can change?

1. Healthy aging

We cannot control the reality of aging, but we can impact how we age. There are many strategies to keep both our bodies and minds as young as possible. For instance diet, social interaction and exercising both your body and mind. There are many mind exercises available in bookstores, on the internet, or through Alzheimer’s websites.

2. Head injury

Scientists believe there may be a link between head trauma and an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s. This is especially true should there be repeated episodes of serious injury to the head. Be careful to always wear a helmet when biking, buckle up no matter how far you are going in your car and install safe surfaces around your home to avoid slipping and falling.

3. Healthy heart, healthy brain

Studies have proven that the health of your heart impacts the health of your brain. Your brain receives vital nutrients through the blood vessels. Should there be any blockages or complications within the vast network of your blood vessels, such as from high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, or heart disease, the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain will be severely diminished, resulting in damage to the brain’s vessels, and increasing your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. If you have any of these conditions it is very important to maintain a regular check-up schedule.

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32 responses to “The Risk for Alzheimer’s disease, in Our Control or Not?

  1. Having a diet high in omega-3’s really is a great for overall brain health. And anything that’s good for the brain is BAD for Alzheimer’s. It really is beatable! Another thing is just to stay mentally active. I’ve never seen someone who is really engaged and loving life fall victim to this horrible disease. There is hope – just keep living and being as happy as you can!

  2. Alzheimer’s is a disease I think we can lessen through living healthier. I did not know of the link between head injury and Alzheimer’s but it makes complete sense.

  3. Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease; it killed my grandmother. Anything that can be done to deter its onset should be done.

  4. I too did not know of the link between head injury and alzheimers. This entire series has been quite enlightening, and definitely worth reading. I did not expect to learn very much, but I did!

  5. If someone didnt write about this i never would have known otherwise – thank you for sharing!

  6. Vincent Agosta

    Alzhimer’s disease i do not think will ever be cured, however there are ways to prevent this, by keeping the individual or persons as positive as they can and to keep their brain exercising at all times. might be a cure in the future, just like cancer.

  7. There are many people in this world who have too deal with this terrible disease . This article explains how it happens and how to be able to deal with it . I really have enjoyed reading this article because for many people they need to know many of these things that not only cause it but how we can help the people that have too deal with this .

  8. Excellent, down to earth article. It’s all about taking basic care of ourselves: exercising, and checking in with our doctors when we have other risk factors.

  9. Very interesting article. I had no idea that heart problems could lead to Alzheimer’s. I like doing brain teasers and such, so even though I did not realize that keeping an active mind helps ward off the risk of Alzheimer’s. I still get the benefits from it.

  10. I wonder what percentage doctors would label the affects of the 3 self-controlled aspects towards actually impacting the odds of getting Alzheimer’s. At any rate, it’s nice knowing that we can have some impact.

  11. My brother had Alzheimer’s. I heard you are not supposed to move them out of their area if you know they have it because it is confusing to them. I don’t know if anyone here has heard of that or not. I don’t think any of my other brothers or sisters had it. By eating right and exercising both our minds and body hopefully we can avoid that. I do have high blood pressure and high cholesterol though, but no blockages. This is a good article with good information.

  12. Alzheimer’s is a terrible thing. i don’t have any personal experiences but i’ve heard and read about people with these conditions, there should be ways we can live a healthy enough lifestyle to prevent our brain from having to deal with this.

  13. There are studies that suggest Alzheimer’s can be slowed or prevented with cognitive exercises likes puzzles and games. There are dementia care facilities that include these activities in their residents’ regular activities. Mental + physical exercise may be one of the best ways to stop or at least delay the disease.

  14. This is a great article a lot of interesting information and facts. Alzheimer’s is a serious illness that touches many people and their families. The world needs to educate ourselves on the issue. The more knowledge we have the better off we are and the better chance we have of finding a cure.

  15. Whoever wrote this article did a detailed fact check and has some convincing points. This is a complicated disease and this is a great contribution to awareness. The more we spread this information the better chance we have of helping.

  16. Great info. Hopefully, it helps people learn how to deal with this disease.

  17. This is a very interesting article. I hope that scientists will soon find a treatment for this devastating disease.

  18. timothy stallman

    Alzheimer’s is a disease I think we can lessen through living healthier. I did not know of the link between head injury and Alzheimer’s but it makes complete sense.

  19. Absolutely fascinating article. I definitely recommend everyone thoroughly read this.

  20. Fred Manfrinjinson

    Alzheimers is awful. It affected my grandfather and i’m happy to see people posting good articles on it. Raising awareness is important so you know what to do to fight it and what parts you can actually effect.

  21. This is a complicated disease and this is a great contribution to awareness. The more knowledge we have the better off we are and the better chance we have of finding a cure. hope that just keep living and being as happy as you can….

  22. Might be cure in the future, just like other sevior diseases. The more knowledge we have the better off we are and the better chance we have of finding a cure. hope thatjust keep living and being as happy as you can!

  23. It’s scary to read the genetic facts about Alzheimers Disease as my grandfather suffered with it. I remember some terrible times he had and don’t want to experience anything like that.

  24. William Burrows

    This article was really fruitful, i believe the admin might have tried hard to give detailed information about Alzheimer’s disease.

  25. My darling grandfather suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, the more people that are aware of the disease, the greater chance for a cure. Great article.

  26. This is a complicated disease and this is a great contribution to awareness. The more knowledge we have the better off we are and the better chance we have of finding a cure. hope that just keep living and being as happy as you can….

  27. Wow I learned a lot about Alzheimer’s from this blog thanks so much for posting and giving us really good info about it

  28. Very informative article. I recommend anyone that has concerns about alzheimers to read this.

  29. crimsontide1

    Very informative and I learned so much – I hope this helps all the sufferers out there and their families!

  30. mellanie field

    I did not know that alheimers is the result of a head injury? I thank you for all your hard work, and sharing your research.

  31. Find it really interesting that there could be a link between head injuries and Alzheimer’s. Really a well put together article.

  32. This article is personal for me.My grandmother has Alzheimer and any information about the disease is important for me

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