Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease 2017-01-23T21:05:06-08:00


The exact cause of AD is not known. Researchers are exploring possible causes, contributing factors and treatments for the disease. A number of risk factors seem to make it more likely that someone will get the disease.

Main Risk Factors

• Age. This is the greatest known risk factor for AD. The disease is uncommon before the age of 65. After the age of 65, however, the incidence doubles every 5 years.

•Family history and genetics. Having someone in the immediate family (i.e. parent or sibling) with AD increases a person’s chances of getting the disease. The more individuals with AD in a family, the higher the risk for remaining family members. Certain types of genes cause forms of AD that may occur even before the age of 65. A rare form of inherited AD can occur as early as the age of 30.

The risk factors of age, family history and genetics cannot be controlled. Scientists are also exploring risk factors that can possibly be controlled to prevent AD.

These include:

• Environment. Studies indicate that AD may develop partly as a result of environmental influences. For example, having a twin with AD puts the other twin at increased risk but it does not mean that the disease will definitely occur.

• Serious head injury. There seems to be a link between serious head injury and later onset of AD.

• Lifestyle choices, such as a balanced diet, active social life, avoidance of tobacco and alcohol, and regular physical and mental exercise, promote a healthy brain and may protect against AD.

• Factors related to blood circulation, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes appear to increase the risk of AD.

AD is more common in women but that may be because women tend to live longer than men in our society. It is likely that the disease is caused by a number of factors that are present at the same time, rather than just one.

All About Alzheimer’s Disease

This book provides an overview of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and can help to increase your understanding of how to provide quality care to a family member with the condition. If you work with older people, it is likely that you have already cared for someone with AD. If not, you may soon be assigned to care for a person with this disease as it is becoming very common in our society.

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