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Alzheimer's disease health centre

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Is Alzheimer’s disease genetic?

Although the causes of Alzheimer’s disease are not fully understood, certain inherited genes do appear to increase a person's risk of developing the condition.

Early onset Alzheimer's disease

Early onset Alzheimer's disease is rare and affects people before the age of 65, where first symptoms appear before the age of 65, sometimes in the 30s or 40s. Early onset Alzheimer's disease appears to be more likely to run in families across generations. The genes affected are the amyloid precursor protein gene (APP) and presenilin genes PSEN-1 and PSEN-2.

Late onset Alzheimer's disease

Late onset Alzheimer's disease is the more common form of the condition, affecting people later in life.

Having a relative with late onset Alzheimer's disease appears to have less of a clear risk of inheriting the condition.

Researchers have identified a gene called apolipoprotein E or APOE as influencing whether a person develops Alzheimer's disease.

Other factors

If you are concerned about inheriting Alzheimer's disease, talk to your GP and discuss genetic screening.

Having genes linked to Alzheimer's disease is one part of a person's risk of developing the condition.

Other risk factors for developing Alzheimer's disease include smoking, being overweight or obese and having high cholesterol or heart disease.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on August 05, 2014

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