What causes Alzheimer's Disease?

No one has indentified a single cause for Alzheimer's Disease. It is likely to be due to a combination of risk factors.

Risk factors

  • Age - this is the greatest risk factor
  • Family history - there is some evidence that there may be a genetic link but this is currently under investigation
  • Female
  • Head injury
  • Down's syndrome
  • Smoking
  • Excess alcohol drinking
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • High cholesterol
  • Heart Disease
  • The reduction in the consumption of Vitamin E and flavonoids (found in green tea and red wine)

Protective factors

  • Living with a partner or family
  • Engaging in social activity
  • Keeping mentally and physically active
  • Monitoring cholesterol levels
  • A healthy diet e.g. Mediterranean, with minimal alcohol and including some shellfish
  • High socio-economic level - predicts a decreased risk of dementia, but if it develops, the onset is later in life.

For more information, please visit the Alzheimer's Society website: