Alzheimer’s disease affects many older people today, and is believed to be a disease caused by an abnormal buildup of proteins in and around brain cells.
One of the proteins involved is called amyloid, whose deposits form plaques around brain cells, and the other protein is called tau, whose deposits form tangles inside brain cells.
Although it is not known exactly why this process begins, scientists confirm that it begins many years before symptoms appear.
When brain cells are affected, there is also a decrease in the chemical messengers (called neurotransmitters) that are involved in sending messages or signals between brain cells.
Levels of a neurotransmitter, acetylcholine for example, are particularly low in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Over time, different areas of the brain shrink, and the first areas that are usually affected are responsible for memories.
In the more unusual forms of Alzheimer’s disease, different areas of the brain are affected, and the first symptoms are problems with vision or language rather than memory.
In the following lines, “Madam. Net” informs you of the causes of Alzheimer’s disease, according to the official website of the National Health Service in the United Kingdom NHS.
Although the causes of Alzheimer’s disease are not known, many factors increase the risk of developing this condition, most notably the following:
Age is the single most important factor, as the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease doubles every 5 years after the age of 65.
And it is not only the elderly who are at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, as about 1 in 20 people with this condition are under 65 years old, which is called early Alzheimer’s disease, and it can affect people from the age of about 40 years.
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Family health history
The genes one inherits from one’s parents can contribute to the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, although the actual increase in risk is small, but in a small number of families, Alzheimer’s disease is caused by the inheritance of one gene and the risks of transmission of the disease are much higher.
If several members of your family have developed dementia across generations, especially at a young age, you may want to seek genetic counseling for information and advice about your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease in your 60s.
– Down’s syndrome
People with Down syndrome are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, because the genetic changes that cause Down syndrome can also cause amyloid plaques to build up in the brain over time, which can lead to Alzheimer’s disease in some people.
People who have had a severe head injury may be more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, but much research is still needed in this area.
Research shows that many lifestyle factors and conditions associated with cardiovascular disease can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
These factors include smoking, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
You can help reduce risk by:
– stop smoking.
Eat a healthy and balanced diet.
Live a physically and mentally active life.
Lose weight if you need to.
Get regular medical exams as you get older.
Other risk factors
In addition, the latest research indicates that other factors are important as well, although this does not mean that these factors are directly responsible for causing Alzheimer’s disease. These factors include:
– hearing loss.
Untreated depression (although depression can also be a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease).
Feelings of loneliness or social isolation.
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