Risk Factors for Alzheimer's
Risk Factors for Alzheimer's
Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia in the world. It affects a large majority of the American population. As news of Alzheimer's may certainly cause a great deal of worry for both the individual and their family, it is worth knowing more on the risk factors for Alzheimer's as well as how you can influence such factors.
Perhaps the greatest known risk factor for Alzheimer's is one's age. As one grows older, the risk of developing Alzheimer's increases substantially. It is still not known why this is so. However, studies have shown that most individuals with the disease are 65 or older. Moreover, the same studies indicate that the risk of developing Alzheimer's doubles every five years after one turns 65. Research is currently underway on age as a risk factor for Alzheimer's and on treatment to help slow down the progression of the disease as one ages.
Scientists have also identified family history as one of the risk factors for Alzheimer's. It has been noted that individuals who have a sibling, parent or relative with Alzheimer's are more likely to develop the disease than individuals who do not have such a family history. Moreover, the chances of developing Alzheimer's increase when more than one family member has the disease. Family history as a risk factor has been closely associated with hereditary or genetic factors as well as environmental factors.
In terms of one's genes, research has identified two types of genes which may be risk factors for Alzheimer's: risk genes and deterministic genes. The presence of risk genes increases the chances of one developing Alzheimer's. However, they do not guarantee that one will develop the disease. The presence of deterministic genes, on the other hand, guarantees that one will develop the genes. While risk factors such as age, family history and genes cannot be controlled or influenced, there are some factors which can be influenced.
Some risk factors for Alzheimer's can be controlled through one's lifestyle as well as effective management of any other present health conditions. For instance, research indicates that there is a strong link between serious head injury and future development of Alzheimer's. Moreover, if such head trauma occurs repeatedly, the chances of developing the disease increase substantially. However, head trauma can be prevented by taking proper precautions such as fastening your seat belt when traveling as well as wearing proper head gear when engaged in outdoor sports.
Other studies have ascertained that there exists a strong heart-brain connection which may increase the chances of developing the disease as one grows older. Signs of vascular disease may increase chances of developing Alzheimer's as you grow older. As such, it is advisable to watch what you eat and work with your doctor to help counter any problems that may arise.
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