Alzheimer’s disease: Eight risk factors for developing the disease – are you at risk?

Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia. Dementia refers to a set of symptoms, including problems with thinking, reasoning, learning, memory and language. Alzheimer’s is more likely as a person gets older. About one in every 100 people aged 65 have Alzheimer’s and this will rise to 40 out of every 100 by age 85. The disease is more prevalent in woman because woman tend to live longer than men. There are 850,000 people with dementia according to Alzheimer’s Society, what are the risk factors for developing this condition?

Risk factors include:


As a person grows over the likelihood of developing the disease increases.

Family history and genetics

A person’s risk factor is higher if a parent or sibling has the disease.

Down syndrome

Many people with Down syndrome develop Alzheimer’s disease.


Overall there are more woman with the disease due to life longevity.

Mild cognitive impairment

This relates to a decline in memory or other thinking skills and puts a person’s risk of developing the disease much higher.

Post head trauma

People who’ve had a sever head trauma have a greater risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Poor sleep patterns

Research shows that poor sleep patterns are associated with Alzhiemer’s

Lifestyle and heart health

Lack of exercise, obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol are all lifestyle factors increasing a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s

Bupa health said: “Alzheimer’s is a long-term condition that gradually worsens over time. This can be a very slow process in some poole, but the progression of Alzheimer’s symptoms varies a great deal from person to person. In some cases, it can be as quick as five years.

“In others, the decline may take 20 years, with long periods where there is no apparent change. Doctors call these periods where the disease doesn’t get worse ‘plateaus’.”

There’s some evidence to suggest that rates of dementia are lower in people who remain mentally and socially active throughout their lives


The NHS describe symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease which include:

  • Forgetting recent conversations or events
  • Misplacing items
  • Forgetting the names of places and objects
  • Having trouble thinking of words
  • Asking questions repetitively
  • Poor judgement
  • Becoming less flexible and more hesitant to trying new things

A person can reduce their risk of developing Alzheimer’s by stopping smoking, keeping alcohol to a minimum, eating a healthy and balanced diet, exercising and checking blood pressure readings

“There’s some evidence to suggest that rates of dementia are lower in people who remain mentally and socially active throughout their lives.

“It may be possible to reduce your risk of Alzheimers disease by reading, learning new languages, playing musical instruments, volunteering in your local community, taking part in group sports, trying new activities and maintaining an active social life.”

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