Causes and Risk Factors of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is progressive degenerative disease of nervous system that affect memory and mental functions. This is the most common cause of dementia of loss of memory. Currently there is no effective way to manage or treat Alzheimer’s disease. Only palliative and supportive care is possible.ID-100300337

What are the possible causes of Alzheimer’s disease?

Causes of Alzheimer’s disease are not clear. However, the effect of Alzheimer’s disease on brain is clear. Probably the disease is caused by combination of lifestyle, genetics and environmental factors that affect brain. The role of food causing it or preventing it has not been clearly demonstrated. Less than 5% of patients of Alzheimer’s disease have specific genetic change. The brain of affected person have fewer neurons than a healthy person and the connection among surviving nerve cells are also few. As disease progresses and more and more neurons destroyed, brain shrinks. In Alzheimer’s disease abnormalities in brain is typical and causes formation of plaques (plaques are clumps of a protein beta-amyloid that destroy brain cells) and tangles.

Risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease include,

  • Age: age is certainly an important risk factors. Because Alzheimer’s disease most commonly occur after age of 65, although it is not part of normal ageing process. Only people with genetic changes may develop it in 30s.
  • Sex: women seem to have greater risk of Alzheimer’s disease, may be they live longer than males.
  • Family history of Alzheimer’s: if anyone in your family develop Alzheimer’s disease, the risk is greater among first degree relatives. Scientists have discovered three genes that virtually guarantee development of Alzheimer’s disease in later life, who has these genes. In other cases the role of genetics in Alzheimer’s disease is not understood.
  • History of trauma, especially head injury increase risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • People with Down’s syndrome are at greater risk of Alzheimer’s disease. And symptoms tend to appear earlier in these patients.
  • People with mild cognitive impairment have greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Low educational status (less than high school level) is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, as statistics indicate.
  • There is no definite proof that lifestyle and habits have a role in Alzheimer’s disease. However, there are certain indications that lifestyle that increase risk of heart disease can increase risk of Alzheimer’s disease as well. These include, smoking (including passive smoking), sedentary life, obesity, inadequately controlled hypertension, inadequately controlled diabetes, high blood cholesterol, diet low in fruits and vegetables.
  • People engaged in mentally and socially stimulating activities are at lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Image courtesy of [stockimages] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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