Causes of the Disease
Researchers do not yet fully understand Alzheimer’s Disease and its causes, yet they have made great strides. They believe it is a combination of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors. Genetics is believed to play a more prominent role in early-onset Alzheimer’s. Here, Alzheimer’s usually occurs between the ages of 30 and 60, as opposed to the majority of cases which occur after 60 and is caused by changes in one of three genes inherited from a parent.
In late-onset Alzheimer’s, researchers have found a link to the apoliprotein E (APOE) gene, which has several forms, one of which is believed to increase the risk of developing the disease. The presence of the gene, however, does not mean a person is certain to suffer from Alzheimer’s. Research into Alzheimer’s does not end here. Scientists believe there are more genes at work and are constantly working to identify them.
Researchers are also exploring links between the disease and lifestyle factors. There are slight associations between cognitive decline and the presence of other health issues that include heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. Hispanics as a population tend to be at greater risk for these conditions and if a clear link can be found between these factors and the disease, then it could help explain the group’s higher probability of developing the disease.
Additionally, several studies suggest a nutritious diet, physical activity, social engagement, and mentally stimulating endeavors can help everybody stay mentally healthy as they age. More specific studies are being performed to confirm such statements.