Alzheimer's Disease: 6 Risk Factors You Should Know About
Alzheimer's disease is not preventable, and several risk factors can be modified.
Written by Tavishi Dogra|Published : January 12, 2023 1:28 PM IST
Alzheimer's is a progressive neurologic disorder with symptoms associated with a continuous decline in thinking skills, memory and other mental abilities. The condition causes the brain to shrink (atrophy) and leads to the death of brain cells over time. Alzheimer's patients tend to forget recent events or conversations. As the disease progresses, they develop severe memory impairment and lose the ability to perform routine tasks. Dr Neha Kapoor, Sr. Consultant & Head of Neurology, Asian Hospital Faridabad, says that while the exact cause of the disease is not yet fully understood, several factors are thought to increase the risk of getting the condition, including:
Lifestyle factors: Research shows that the same factors linked to heart disease may also be responsible for increased risk of Alzheimer's that, include obesity, lack of exercise, poorly controlled type 2 diabetes, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, poor sleep patterns, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. The good news is all these are modifiable factors; therefore, changing lifestyle habits can lower your risk to some degree.
Head trauma: The risk of Alzheimer's is higher in people with severe head trauma. Studies show that the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease increases in people aged 50. The additional risk may be the most significant.
Age: It is the most significant known risk factor for developing the condition. With increasing age, the chances of developing Alzheimer's disease increases. For most people, Alzheimer's risk starts going up after age 65.
Genetics: Your chances of developing Alzheimer's are somewhat higher if you have a parent or sibling with the disease. Most genetic mechanisms of the disease are highly complex.
Sex: Women are affected with the disease more often than men; however, they also generally live longer than men.
Down syndrome: It's not clear why, but many people with Down syndrome often get Alzheimer's disease.
Although Alzheimer's disease is not preventable, several risk factors can be modified. For example, heart-healthy lifestyle choices that may reduce the risk of Alzheimer's include regular exercise, quitting smoking if you smoke, eating a healthy diet with fresh produce and low in saturated fat and managing high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.