Skip to Content

Determining Your Risk

The Center for Brain Health is for individuals 18 and older who are interested in improving their brain health, preventing Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders, or who are concerned about their risk factors, such as a family history. Having a first-degree relative with Alzheimer’s disease doubles your risk. This may be due to presence of a specific genetic “allele.” About 25 percent of the population carries a variation of a specific gene, called APOE that increases the risk for Alzheimer’s 4- to 15-fold, depending on how many copies of the variation you inherited from your parents. Genetic risks aside, women are twice as likely as men to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

In addition to family history, risk factors include:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Concussions
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Diet (red meats, sugary desserts, high-fat foods and refined grains)
  • High cholesterol
  • Hypertension
  • Menopause (early)
  • Obesity
  • Oophorectomy (removal of ovaries)
  • Sleep disorders (sleep deprivation, insomnia, dream disorders)
  • Smoking
  • Stroke

If it’s determined you are at risk for Alzheimer’s or a related brain disorder (take our Brain Health Quiz), our experts will counsel you regarding your risks and recommend multiple interventions to improve brain health and to delay or prevent disease onset.