Alzheimer’s disease presents in a variety of day-to-day glitches: trouble with word retrieval, difficulties with problem solving, misplaced keys. It becomes harder to follow the thread of a conversation.
For a printable checklist of The 10 Signs of Alzheimer’s read here.
According to the U.S. Department of Health’s National Institute on Aging, four factors affect a person’s chance of getting Alzheimer’s: age, genetics, environment and lifestyle. (3)
While Alzheimer’s disease is not considered a normal part of aging, one’s risk of Alzheimer’s does increase as age advances. The risk of contracting the disease doubles every five years after the age of 65. Nearly half of all people over age 85 have the disease. (5)
You are somewhat more likely to develop Alzheimer’s if a first-degree relative, like a parent or sibling, has the disease. (5)
Early onset Alzheimer’s occurs in people ages 30 to 60, and is rare. Early onset accounts for only 5 percent of Alzheimer’s patients. Familial Alzheimer’s disease accounts for most early onset cases, and is caused by an inherited change in one of three genes.
For the remainder of those diagnosed with FAD, the disease appears to develop without any specific, known cause, similar to late-onset Alzheimer's.
Most people who have late-onset Alzheimer’s disease begin showing symptoms in their mid-60s.
There is some evidence to suggest that the lifestyle habits that contribute to heart disease also play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s. (5) Those include:
- Lack of exercise
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol
- Elevated homocysteine levels
- Poorly controlled diabetes
- A diet lacking in fruits and vegetables
In a study reported by the National Institutes of Health, those who consumed a Mediterranean diet had a 28 percent lower risk of developing Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). These same people had a 48 percent lower risk of moving from MCI to Alzheimer’s disease.