Per the records of the National Institute on Aging, Alzheimer's Disease Health Center, Alzheimer’s is the most common form of Dementia. The illness is considered irreversible and progressive brain disorder that affects 1 of 10 people who are over the age of 65. The disease can be classified into either sporadic or familial. The variation of the two categories is that Sporadic Alzheimer’s disease can be observed in adults at any age but is commonly diagnosed at the age of 65. The Sporadic Alzheimer’s disease is more common of the two categories. On the other hand, the Familial Alzheimer’s disease is considered as a very rare genetic condition which is caused by a mutation in one of several genes. Due to the presence of the mutated genes, the person will develop the brain disorder at an early age usually in their 40’s or 50’s. Most of the scientist who devoted their time and efforts into studying the brain disorder in-depth shared that Alzheimer’s is a combination of environment, lifestyle and genetic factors that affects the brain as the life of a person progresses (National Institute on Aging, 2014)..
Genetically speaking, with a statistics of less than 5 percent of the time, Alzheimer’s disease is caused by a change in a specific gene that tends to guarantee a person will develop the disease. Even up to date, there are still a lot of cavities in literatures and studies pertaining to Alzheimer’s disease ( Stop Alzheimer’s Save Australia, 2014). For instance, it is not yet fully understood how the disease affects the brain. However, the brain disease is believed to damage and kill brain cells. Based on studies, a brain that is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s has many fewer cells and thus have only fewer connections among the other surviving cells compared to a relatively healthy brain. As the death of the brain cells becomes rampant, Alzheimer’s will eventually lead to a significant decrease in brain size (National Institute on Aging, 2014)..
Family history and genetics play a great role in determining the person’s susceptibility in contracting the disease. It is observed that people are at risk of developing Alzheimer’s if a first-degree relative (sibling or parent) is suffering with the brain disease. Researchers have discovered rare mutations and changes in three genes that serve a virtual guarantee of whether or not a person will contract Alzheimer’s (National Institute on Aging, 2014). The challenge, even up to date, is despite the advancement in technology and research methodologies most of the genetic mechanisms of the disease still remain unexplained. It is mentioned that the strongest risk gene that researchers have discovered after years of studying the disease is the apolipoprotein e4 (APOEe).
Other factors that may cause Alzheimer’s disease are considered environmental in nature. Based on current studies, there is a great deal of interest in the relationship between cognitive decline and various vascular conditions such as stroke, high blood pressure and heart disease. Other illnesses that researchers believe are linked to Alzheimer’s include metabolic conditions including obesity. Pieces of scientific evidence also suggests that some risks put people vulnerable to developing heart disease these risks include- lack of exercise; high blood pressure; smoking; high blood cholesterol and poorly controlled diabetes (National Institute on Aging, 2014)..
In conclusion, there are many factors that unfortunately not yet fully studied even in today’s era. Alzheimer’s may not be immediately observed but a person must be aware of the risk factors both from his environment and genetics. There is still no guaranteed cure for Alzheimer’s and in terms of development, it has been mentioned by the Australian group Stop Alzheimer’s Save Australia, one group of drugs named cholinergeric drugs is showing good potentiality in terms of temporality improving the cognitive functioning of some people who are diagnosed with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.
Fight Alzheimer’s Save Australia. 2014. Fight Alzheimer’s Save Australia. [ONLINE] Available at: https://fightdementia.org.au/about-dementia/types-of-dementia/alzheimers-disease. [Accessed 21 June 15].
National Institute on Aging. 2014. National Institute on Aging. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/topics/causes. [Accessed 21 June 15].