What Causes Alzheimer’s Disease – Alzheimer’s Causes – Types and Prevention

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ALZHEIMER’S CAUSES
  • Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative brain disorder that is caused by an unusual build-up of proteins in the brain. This damages the brain cells, causing neurons to lose function, and results in shrinking of the brain due to cell death. 
  • The two proteins responsible for this abnormal accumulation are; 
    • Amyloid proteins
    • Tau proteins.
  • Amyloid proteins form a cluster around the neurons and disrupt cell-to-cell communication. Collection of amyloid proteins results in plaque formation around the brain cells. 
  • Tau proteins collect and form tangles within neurons in the brain. These tangles are toxic to the brain cells and disrupt the transport of nutrients and other important minerals.
  • Alzheimer’s is responsible for dementia in elders. It causes major decline in thinking along with social and behavioural issues. People with Alzheimer’s eventually lose the ability to perform daily tasks. 
  • Some of the risk factors that cause Alzhiemer’s disease are: 
    • Age
    • Genetics
    • Sex
    • Down Syndrome
    • Head injury
    • Cardiovascular disease
    • and excessive alcohol use. 
  • The biggest contributing factor in Alzhimer’s disease is age. The older one gets, the more likely they are to develop Alzheimer’s disease. The possibility of developing Alzheimer’s disease after the age of 65 increases significantly.
  • Alzhiemer’s disease between the ages of 30-60 years is known as early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease after the age of 60 years is known as late onset Alzheimer’s disease. Research suggests that roughly 1 in 20 people with Alzheimer’s disease are under the age of 65 years.
  • Genetics play a huge role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. If one or more of your family members have developed dementia, you are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
  • The gene that causes Alzheimer’s is called APOE e4. About 30% of the population contains this gene but not everyone with APOE e4 develops Alzheimer’s disease. 
  • Sex of a person is particularly important when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease. It is easier for women to develop this disorder than men. This is because women have stronger immune systems than men, and can accumulate more amyloid plaques. 
  • People who suffer from down syndrome are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. They have three copies of chromosome 21 and three copies of protein that causes the accumulation of amyloid plaques in the brain. They also show symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease 10-20 years before people without this condition. 
  • Severe head injury can result in brain damage and increase the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease. 
  • People with cardiovascular diseases and unhealthy lifestyles have a higher chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Some of these lifestyles include obesity, smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.
  • Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol increases the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease, as it can lead to permanent brain changes and cause early onset dementia. 

What are the types of Alzhiemer’s disease?

  • There are two types of Alzhiemer’s disease: Early onset Alzheimer’s disease and Late onset Alzhiemer’s disease. 
  • The age for early onset Alzheimer’s disease is 30-60 years and less than 10 percent of total patients with Alzhiemer’s suffer from this condition. It is a rare disease caused by genetics.
  • Late onset Alzheimer’s disease occurs at the age of 60 and above. It is caused by a gene called APOE e4, also known as the genetic risk-factor gene. APOE e4 increases the chances of an individual to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Can we prevent Alzheimer’s disease?

  • Although Alzheimer’s disease cannot be prevented, there are some things that could reduce the chances of developing this disorder and living a longer, healthy life. The most important thing that contributes to this is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This includes; exercising, eating healthy foods, avoiding smoking, maintaining a good blood pressure, and having regular health tests.
  • Research also suggests that keeping your brain active can reduce the chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease. This can be done by acquiring higher education, learning different languages, and learning how to play musical instruments.

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