Although the cause (or causes) of Alzheimer's disease remains unknown, certain risk factors may increase your chances of developing the disease.

The greatest risk factor for developing Alzheimer's disease is age. An older you are, the more likely you are to develop Alzheimer's disease. About 4 out of every 100 people between the ages of 65 and 74 years, and 3 out of 10 people over 85 years of age, have Alzheimer's disease.

Hereditary factors also play an important role in the development of Alzheimer's disease in 5% to 15% of people. Many studies have shown that individuals with an affected relative are at increased risk to develop Alzheimer's disease compared to those without.

Other risk factors may include:

  • being female
  • having had a head injury associated with loss of consciousness
  • high cholesterol
  • high blood pressure
  • low folic acid levels
  • type 2 diabetes
  • a history of depression
  • mild cognitive impairment (MCI)

Studies indicate that certain lifestyle factors may also increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease. Try to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy foods, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, and getting regular exercise.

Written and reviewed by the MediResource Clinical Team