Causes

What Causes Alzheimer's Disease?

The brain begins to deteriorate long before they experience any single symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. There are a number of theories for the cause of Alzheimer’s disease. But, it is most likely the cumulative effect of various factors. Different patients of Alzheimer’s disease exhibit different symptoms of the disease; clinical, pathological, psychological, and effects on their nervous systems. Factors thought to be responsible for the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease include:

 

Genes:

If you have a family history of Alzheimer’s disease, there is a high chance of you acquiring it at some time. Your chances increase with the number of affected members in your family. Even if only one of your parents has Alzheimer’s disease, your chances may be doubled or tripled for getting it over people who do not have it in their family history.


Down’s syndrome:

If you have Down’s syndrome or Trisomy 21, your chances for the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease increase. You might develop certain pathological symptoms, but may not show any clinical symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Mutation chromosomes:

The chromosomes 1, 10, 12, 14, 21 could cause Alzheimer’s disease. Sometimes, late onset of the disease could be due to APOE gene variants on Chromosome 19.


Age:

Old age is synonymous with memory loss and other marked changes in behavioral and functional patterns. So, it is difficult to identify Alzheimer’s disease symptoms in old age. But, general failing health in old age is believed to contribute to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.


Stress:

Stress puts pressure on your nervous system, leading to development of free radicals. Such stress, specifically in old age, is a major cause for Alzheimer’s disease.


Injuries:

Severe head injuries and trauma damage can disrupt normal blood flow to brain. There, sensitive brain nerves are at immense risk because of the depleted blood flow and the result may be various fibrous tangles. Deposits of beta amyloid protein occur during head injuries, which do not allow easy blood flow. There are established links of such deposits with dementia symptoms. Hence, this could be an important cause for Alzheimer’s disease. Other diseases like high blood pressure and blood sugar levels, stroke, atherosclerotic disease and diabetes also dislocate the blood supply to the brain, and can cause late onset of Alzheimer’s disease.


Female gender:

As mentioned before, the incidence of Alzheimer’s is higher in females. One possible reason for this could be the loss of Estrogen hormones after menopause. Hormonal imbalances are common during menopause and contribute towards the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease in females.


Laziness:

low levels of brain activity such as with people that become “couch potatoes” in front of their TV etc, may reduce their chances of avoiding mental deterioration and, possibly, Alzheimer’s disease.

 

 

Cardiovascular Disease:

Researches show that health of heart and blood vessels is directly related to the brain health Oxygenated and nutrient rich blood needs for proper functioning of the brain. Many factors that develop the cardiovascular diseases also increase the risks of Alzheimer. For example junk food, high cholesterol and hypertension. Exercises and use of vegetables reduce the risk of both Cardiovascular and Alzheimer diseases.


Poverty:

Poverty is another important cause of Alzheimer’s disease, as you are unable to understand, diagnose, or take preventive steps to protect yourself against disease because of the lack of money, regular medical consultations and not even being aware of the risk of the disease and any protective measures that you might take. Vitamins are expensive and people on low incomes often do not get enough proper foods to maintain their health into old age.

 

Education:

Higher education may improve the thinking power of the brain and increase the functioning of your brain. Keeping your brain active may reduce the effects or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. An active brain also prevents the onset of dementia. Another effect of higher education may be to increase your standard of living and make you more aware of various diseases, their symptoms and causes, as a well-educated person is more likely to read news and health journals and be exposed to what can happen to them in old age.

There are conflicting reports about two other possible causes of Alzheimer’s disease. One is the presence of high aluminum levels in the environment and the other is smoking. Some research findings were said to indicate that nicotine in the brain, due to smoking, might protect you against Alzheimer’s disease but this has been proven false. Cigarettes are not good for you. Earlier studies on animals and humans were reported to indicate that nicotine exposure inhibits the formation of amyloid plaque, a key feature of Alzheimer’s disease. However, a new study shows that chronic nicotine use may worsen the effects of a brain protein called tau, which is responsible for the fibrous tangles that are a hallmark of the disease. So, any good effect in smoking would be more than canceled out, according to the latest research.