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. The older you are, the more likely you are to develop Alzheimer's disease. One person in every 9 aged 65 and over has Alzheimer’s disease – and 1 in every 3 over the age of 85.

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 of developing Alzheimer's disease.

Other risk factors may include:

  • having had a head injury associated with loss of consciousness
  • high cholesterol
  • high blood pressure
  • obesity
  • smoking
  • type 2 diabetes
  • mild cognitive impairment (MCI)
  • fewer years of formal education

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