Alzheimer’s disease – you can change some risk factors
Up to two-thirds of Alzheimer’s disease cases worldwide may be influenced by 9 potentially modifiable risk factors. While cause and effect can’t be proven yet, these risk factors are associated with a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
- Current smoking (in the Asian population);
- Carotid artery narrowing;
- Type 2 diabetes (in the Asian population);
- Low educational attainment;
- High levels of homocysteine (an amino acid linked to narrowing of blood vessels);
- High blood pressure; and
The researchers also found the following factors have a protective effect against developing Alzheimer’s disease:
- Being on oestrogen therapy
- Taking statins (cholesterol-lowering medicines);
- Taking NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs);
- Folate – having a high level;
- High intake of vitamins C and E; and
- Coffee drinking.
Other factors contributing to a lower risk are:
- History of arthritis, heart disease, metabolic syndrome or cancer;
- High BMI in later life;
- Regularly exercising the brain;
- Current smoking (excluding the Asian population); and
- Light to moderate drinking and stress.
However, the researchers caution that this is an observational study, so no definitive conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect.
Nonetheless, they suggest preventive strategies targeting diet, drugs, body chemistry, mental health, pre-existing disease and lifestyle may help to stave off Alzheimer’s disease.
Last Reviewed: 24/08/2015
Xu W, et al. Meta-analysis of modifiable risk factors for Alzheimerâ€™s disease. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2015;0:1â€“8. doi:10.1136/jnnp-2015-310548J
Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia. Find out all you need to know, including what causes it and whether it can be prevented.
Metabolic syndrome is a condition that increases your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Lifestyle changes are the first step in its treatment.
Peripheral arterial disease
Peripheral arterial disease refers to a narrowing of the blood vessels in the legs. Find out about the symptoms, risk factors, tests and treatment.
myDr's top 10 health news stories of 2018
These are the top 10 news stories brought to you by myDr.com.au in 2018. News about sleep took out the top 3 places, adding weight to reports earlier this year that found that Australians just don't get enough sleep.
Interrupting the Alzheimer’s pathway
Are there risk factors we can influence to reduce our risk of Alzheimer’s disease?