Children of Parents with Alzheimer’s

Once a strong-willed, hard-working woman  that shrunk into a child-like state and couldn’t wipe her own bottom would have been humiliating for my mother if she had known. Perhaps it was a blessing that her memory had been lost. She is no longer with me, but I remember how hard it was to watch the changes as the disease of Alzheimer’s progressed.

Others that have or are going through this with their own parents are probably wondering if they are at risk. A family history and increasing age are the two greatest risk factors of getting Alzheimer’s. The likelihood of developing the disease because a parent has it, depends on whether you inherit a copy of the gene APOE e4. If you do inherit it, your susceptibility is double that of the general population. In the rare case that you inherit copies of the APOEe4 gene from both parents, your susceptibility jumps sixfold. However, having the gene does not guarantee that you will develop the disease. Less than 1% of all cases of Alzheimer’s disease are caused by a defect or mutation in the genes presenilin 1. persenilin 2, and the amyloid precursor protein.

Everyone wants to lower their risk, but the best advice is to maintain good health. Manage conditions of diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Studies have linked high blood pressure with some dementias. Stay engaged physically, mentally, and socially.

 

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