If you are concerned about developing Alzheimer’s disease at some point in your life, you are not alone. Over the last several decades, Alzheimer’s disease has rapidly moved into the number six spot in the top 10 causes of death in the United States. What makes Alzheimer’s even scarier is the fact that we have yet to find a cure nor a way to prevent the disease from developing. While there is no foolproof way to know if you will develop the disease, there are some known risk factors. Read on to find out if you have any of those known risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s Facts and Figures
Most people know that Alzheimer’s disease is more common now than it was in years past; however, the facts and figures relating to the disease may still shock you:
- Over 5 million people are currently living with Alzheimer’s in the U.S.
- Every 66 seconds, someone in the U.S. develops the disease
- 1 in 3 seniors will die with Alzheimer’s or another dementia related disease
- Since 2000, deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have increased 89 percent
Known Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s Disease
Given the rate at which Alzheimer’s disease is striking the country’s older population, physicians and scientists are working overtime to figure out how to predict, prevent, treat, and cure the disease. For now, experts tell us that there are some risk factors that appear to increase your odds of developing the disease at some point down the road, including:
- Age — age is the greatest risk factor for the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The older you are, the higher the risk is of developing the disease. One in nine people over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s disease, and this figure rises to one in three for people over the age of 85.
- Family History – experts seem to agree that family plays a role in predicting who will develop Alzheimer’s disease. A family history of Alzheimer’s disease will increase your chance of getting the condition, particularly if it is a brother, sister, mother or father who had/has the disease. The risk is greater if more than one family member has or has had the disease.
- Genetics — researchers have identified certain mutated genes associated with the disease. Anyone who inherits a copy of the APOE-e4 gene is at greater risk, and the risk is even greater if they inherit two copies of the gene. There are also deterministic genes which, if inherited, would guarantee the onset of the disease. This only accounts for around 1 percent of Alzheimer’s cases and often the patients suffer from early-onset.
- Head Injury — here is evidence to suggest that head trauma may lead to Alzheimer’s disease, particularly repeated head trauma. Help prevent head trauma by wearing a safety helmet when cycling or playing dangerous sports, wearing a seat belt in the car, and checking around the home for any tripping or falling hazards.
- Heart Health — the risk of Alzheimer’s disease increases if you suffer from conditions that can affect the heart, such as stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Exercising, maintaining a healthy body weight and watching what you eat will help keep your heart healthy.
- Race — Latinos and African Americans are 1 1/2 to two times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than Caucasians. The reason for this is unclear, although many think the higher rate of heart problems in Latinos and African Americans may be the cause.
If you have any of these known risk factors, consult your primary care physician early on and discuss what you can do to prevent developing the disease and/or control and combat the symptoms if you do develop the disease.
If you have additional questions or concerns regarding the legal issues that often accompany a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, contact the experienced Lincolnshire elder law attorneys at Hedeker Law, Ltd. by calling (847) 913-5415 to schedule an appointment.
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