The Risk Factors for Alzheimer's Disease

The Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s Disease

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Millions around the world today are battling with Alzheimer’s disease. Even though medical science has made great advances in understanding Alzheimer’s disease and its process yet a lot has been left when it comes to its causes. Recently researchers have claimed to have identified some vital factors that increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s or the brain depilating disease. The major risk attributed to Alzheimer’s disease is aging while other sources also contribute significantly like family history, genetics, diet and nutrition and environment.

Aging has been credited as the single strongest risk factor to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Records show that risk of having the disease doubles every five years just as you hit 65 years of age. By age 85, the risk reaches almost peaks to 50%. Women are more prone to develop the disease as compared to men. A major reason for women more prone could be low levels of estrogen and high risks of cardiovascular diseases. Genetics is also a risk factor, however, not many cases have been identified linked to genes. Though the disease may run in the family it cannot be associated with gene mutation or defect.

Cardiovascular disease can be seen as a risk factor. Elevated levels of LDL cholesterol, low levels of HDL, high blood pressure, smoking, excess weight, unhealthy diet, lack of exercise and type 2 diabetes also cause Alzheimer’s disease. The risk of Alzheimer’s disease in people suffering from Down syndrome is still not clear. However, the genetic abnormality responsible for this syndrome is located on chromosome 21 that contains the amyloid precursor gene. The amyloid protein is one of the main constituents of amyloid plaques found in the brains of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Recently there was much news about the rising cases of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. This is a major degenerative brain disease found in athletes, military veterans, and others with a history of repetitive brain trauma.

Serious head injuries, blunt trauma to the head and other injuries have a strong link to developing Alzheimer’s disease. People with moderate head injuries have twice the risk of developing the disease while people with serious head injuries have a 4.5 times greater risk. Depression plays a key role in developing Alzheimer’s disease. Individuals prone to depression have greater risk and susceptibility of developing the disease. Patients with a history of depression have double the chances of developing this disease. The brain decline is more evident in people suffering from depression. However, it is still unclear whether treating depression can cure Alzheimer’s disease as well.