Researchers have found that genetics can be a factor in the development of Alzheimer’s dementia, making many people wonder if they have the genes that contribute to this disease. Both early-onset and late-onset Alzheimer’s have genetic components, so some individuals may wish to have a better understanding of their family health history to see if they might be affected.
It is important to note that even though Alzheimer’s is associated with genetic factors, there are certain lifestyle changes that can be used to support brain health at all stages of life.
Risk of Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease
It is estimated that having a parent with a genetic mutation for familial Alzheimer’s disease means that you have a 50/50 chance of having the same mutation. When the mutation is inherited, there is a strong probability of developing early-onset Alzheimer’s.
This risk is comparably small, with only about 5% of Alzheimer’s cases falling under the category of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Usually, the diagnosis occurs in people between the ages of 30 and 60.
Late-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease
The majority of people with Alzheimer’s experience symptoms that set in after the age of 65. Researchers are still trying to understand the causes of the late-onset disease. At this point, it looks like a combination of environmental, genetic, and lifestyle factors that can influence the risk of late-onset Alzheimer’s.
Unlike early-onset Alzheimer’s, researchers have been unable to identify specific genetic mutations that increase the risk of symptoms. But, it has been found that having a form of the APOE gene located on chromosome 19 might influence the risk of this disease.
Genetics Aren’t Everything
Even though there are connections between genetic factors and Alzheimer’s, having a specific gene doesn’t mean that you will have dementia later in life. Not everyone with these genes develops the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. So, other environmental factors likely play a part in the risk of this disease.
There are many things that you can do to contribute to good health, including brain health, as you age. These include paying attention to nutrition; getting regular physical activity; managing cardiac conditions; and engaging in stimulating cognitive and social activity.
If you suspect that you or a family member might be experiencing cognitive changes, then having an examination by a trained healthcare provider is a good first step. Here at Windward Life Care, we offer the support that you need to find the medical professionals who provide the care that is needed. Contact us for more information.