Before you can understand your real risk of contracting Alzheimer’s, let’s define this debilitating condition. The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America defines this form of dementia as:
“… a progressive, degenerative disorder that attacks the brain’s nerve cells, or neurons, resulting in loss of memory, thinking and language skills, and behavioral changes.”
Regrettably, the Mayo Clinic and other important health and wellness organizations say Alzheimer’s disease is the most common reason for dementia among people aged 65 and over. At this point, there is probably one big question on your mind.
What is the chance that you will personally experience this abnormal part of aging?
To answer that question you have to understand the Main Alzheimer’s risk factors.
Of all the possible causes for Alzheimer’s, an increase in age is the greatest single factor. It seems that 65 years is the most widely agreed-upon starting point where Alzheimer’s begins to appear consistently.
Sadly, almost half of everyone above the age of 85 has Alzheimer’s to some degree.
Your risk of living with Alzheimer’s becomes much stronger if you have a few rare genetic dispositions, and if this is the case, you could begin experiencing symptoms as early as your 30s.
If a first-degree relative (a brother, sister or parent) has Alzheimer’s, you are at a slightly higher risk than the average person.
Women seem to experience Alzheimer’s more frequently than men. (This appears to be because women live longer, not because of some genetic predisposition of this affliction to appear in women.)
If you have experienced severe head trauma on a single occasion, or repeated trauma to your head over time, there seems to be a link to a greater risk of contracting Alzheimer’s.
And if any of the following are part of your current lifestyle or heart health, you are a more likely candidate for Alzheimer’s.
• Abnormally high blood pressure
• High cholesterol
• Untreated or poorly controlled diabetes
• A diet which contains few vegetables and fruits
• You smoke
• You get very little physical exercise
• Your homocysteine levels are high
But there is also good news.
Multiple studies reported by learning institutions and medical facilities around the world show that if you have a stimulating job or higher level of formal education, your Alzheimer’s risk is lower.
“If you frequently benefit from social interaction and are constantly challenging your mind, your risk also drops.”
And when you eat lots of vegetables and fruits, drink plenty of water daily, and exercise your body, your Alzheimer’s risk drops even further still.