Which medical conditions increase your risk of Alzheimer’s?

The rates of Alzheimer’s disease are nearing epidemic proportions. It’s no overstatement to say that Alzheimer’s is devastating for families, especially for family caregivers who find themselves trapped between caring for aging parents and young children. If you’re one of those family caregivers, you should know that a strong family history of Alzheimer’s disease can increase your own risk. If you’re concerned about your future health, the physicians at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center are here to help.

Head trauma
Head injuries are caused by falls, car accidents, sports collisions and acts of violence. They can cause severe short-term problems, like loss of consciousness, confusion and dizziness. Long-term health problems are also possible, especially if the brain injury is severe.

One of those long-term effects could be an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. The research is ongoing, and there is no conclusive evidence yet.

However, according to the Alzheimer’s Association , people who have sustained moderate brain injuries have a 2.3 times greater risk of Alzheimer’s than people who haven’t had any traumatic brain injuries. The same study suggests that people who have had severe brain injuries have a 4.5 times greater risk of Alzheimer’s.

This risk, along with the other complications of traumatic brain injuries, highlights the importance of protecting the delicate brain. The following precautions are recommended:

  • Always wear a seatbelt
  • Reduce tripping hazards in the home
  • Avoid alcohol intoxication
  • Wear appropriate sports protective equipment

Cardiovascular conditions
If you’re a patient at a heart hospital, then you may have already heard that the lifestyle choices that are good for your heart are also good for your brain. Blood vessels nourish the brain with a steady supply of oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood. But damage to the blood vessels and other cardiovascular problems might increase the risk of brain health problems, including Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.

Beware of the following risk factors that may be linked to Alzheimer’s:

  • High cholesterol
  • Atherosclerosis
  • High blood pressure
  • Overweight and obesity

Down syndrome
Down syndrome occurs when a person has an extra copy of chromosome 21. This chromosome contains the APP gene, which manufactures amyloid precursor protein. Excessively high levels of this protein can contribute to beta-amyloid plaques in the brain.

This is why nearly all people with Down syndrome have beta-amyloid plaques and tau tangles by the time they reach age 40. It isn’t inevitable that these individuals will have Alzheimer’s, but their risk is elevated significantly.

Nevada Neurosciences Institute at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center is widely known for being a pioneer in brain injury and disease research. We are also a world-class heart hospital, with compassionate and comprehensive patient support services. Residents of Las Vegas can contact a registered nurse at (702) 233-5300 to request a physician referral.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *