The strongest risk factor for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
People with a first-degree relative with Alzheimer’s disease have a 10 to 30 percent increased risk of developing the disorder.
The risk of AD is lower if a family member developed AD after the age of 85 years old.
The highest risk of AD is when the relatives are younger at the age of onset.
Certain genes can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. One of the most well-known is the ApoE4. Everyone receives one ApoE from each parent (either an E2, E3, or E4), so we all have two. But only 25% of people have one copy of the E4, and only 2-3% carry two copies (ApoE4/4). Although inheriting one or two copies of the ApoE4 does not mean a person will develop the disease, it makes it more likely.
Risk factors commonly linked to heart attacks and stroke have also been linked to the development of vascular dementia and, also, Alzheimer’s disease.
Blood vessel narrowing is associated with increased risk of vascular disease due to a long history of either high cholesterol, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, tobacco smoking, chronic kidney disease, sleep apnea, and/or obesity.
Aggressive treatment of these conditions is recommended.
Chronic depression and anxiety are linked to cognitive decline.
Aggressive treatment of these conditions is recommended as it can reverse dementia if due to these conditions alone.
Lifestyle and Activity:
Socializing and remaining mentally active reduces the risk of dementia.
Physical activity, especially regular aerobic exercise, can be protective against Alzheimer’s disease.
Higher education is linked with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.