Causes & Risk Factors

The cause of early onset Alzheimer’s disease is not known.   Through research, there are some risk factors that have been identified as possibly being associated with a diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s:

  • “Familial Alzheimer’s disease” – scientists have identified several rare genes that directly cause Alzheimer’s. People who inherit these rare genes tend to develop symptoms in their 30s, 40s and 50s.
  • Head injuries
  • Hypertension
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Smoking – raises the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by as much as 50%
  • Type II Diabetes – high blood sugar may cause vascular problems.  It is thought that insulin resistance leads to inflammation that can damage the brain by disrupting the proper formation of neuron connections
  • Individuals that are overweight or obese in midlife may be at a higher risk
  • Down’s Syndrome