Home HealthTopics Health Centers Reference Library Research
Join us on Facebook Join us on Facebook Share on Facebook

Alzheimer's Disease

Genetics of Alzheimer's Disease

11/16/1999

Question:

Is Alzheimer's hereditary? It was diagnosed that my grandfather is in phase 2, how many are there? How do I know if my memory loss (at age 18) is normal or if there is something wrong?

Answer:

Individuals with a family history of Alzheimer`s disease are at increased risk for getting the disease. However, risk does not equal certainty. Just as a person with high blood pressure is at increased risk for stroke, it does not mean that he/she will ever have a stroke. Generally speaking, there are three stages of Alzheimer`s disease: mild, moderate and severe. We use these very broad terms because there is such variability in the level of functioning and symptoms between individuals. Typically, symptoms of Alzheimer`s disease do not occur until age 65 or later. There are some cases where it can occur at earlier ages, but this is rare. Everyone forgets where they parked the car or the name of an acquaintance at one time or another. And many healthy individuals are less able to remember certain kinds of information as they get older. The symptoms of Alzheimer`s disease are much more severe than simple memory lapses. Alzheimer`s symptoms affect communication, learning, thinking, reasoning and have an impact on a person`s work and social life. Information adapted from `An Overview of Alzheimer`s Disease and Related Dementias` National Alzheimer`s Association.

Related Resources:

National Alzheimer's Association

For more information:

Go to the Alzheimer's Disease health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Jon Stuckey, PhD
Formerly
Case Western Reserve University