Alzheimer's disease risk factors

Jump to: navigation, search

Alzheimer's disease Microchapters


Patient Information


Historical Perspective




Differentiating Alzheimer's disease from other Diseases

Epidemiology and Demographics

Risk Factors

Natural History, Complications and Prognosis


Diagnostic Criteria

History and Symptoms

Physical Examination

Laboratory Findings




CT scan


Other Imaging Findings

Other Diagnostic Studies


Medical Therapy


Primary Prevention

Secondary Prevention

Future or Investigational Therapies

Social Impact

Family Impact

Alzheimer's disease risk factors On the Web

Most recent articles

Most cited articles

Review articles

CME Programs

Powerpoint slides


American Roentgen Ray Society Images of Alzheimer's disease risk factors

All Images
Echo & Ultrasound
CT Images

Ongoing Trials at Clinical

US National Guidelines Clearinghouse

NICE Guidance

FDA on Alzheimer's disease risk factors

CDC on Alzheimer's disease risk factors

Alzheimer's disease risk factors in the news

Blogs on Alzheimer's disease risk factors

Directions to Hospitals Treating Alzheimer's disease

Risk calculators and risk factors for Alzheimer's disease risk factors

Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Syed Hassan A. Kazmi BSc, MD [2]


The most potent risk factors for the development of Alzheimer's disease (AD) are age and genetic mutations. Females are more prone to development of Alzheimer's disease. Inhabitants of Central African Republic, East Africa, Southern Africa, Malaysia, Australia, and Papua New Guinea are more predisposed to the development of Alzheimer's disease. Stroke increases the risk of Alzheimer's dementia.

Risk Factors

The following risk factors may lead to the development of Alzheimer's dementia (AD):[1][2][3]

  • Increasing age
  • Genetic mutations
  • Gender (females > males)
  • Early-life negative events and physical attributes
  • Literacy and education (low literacy and education increases the chances of developing AD)
  • Geographical location (Central African Republic, East Africa, Southern Africa, Malaysia, Australia, and Papua New Guinea, APOE4 is a risk factor for AD among women but not men in Venezuela)
  • Stroke
  • Vascular disease
  • Diet (fruits, vegetables, and fibre decrease risk; Tofu, cycad fruit, salivary phytooestrogens e.g. genistein and daidizein are associated with increased risk)

Comparison of risk factors among developed and developing countries for Alzheimer's dementia

The following table outlines the comparison of different risk factors among various geographic regions:[4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][3][17][18]

Risk Factor Developed regions (North America, Europe, Japan) Asia (China, Guam, India, South Korea, Taiwan) Africa (Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa) Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela)
Increasing age + + + +
Female sex + + Not reported Not reported
Family history + + Not reported +
Head injury + Not reported Not reported +
Genes (APOE4 allele) + + No risk Not reported
Illiteracy or lack of education + + + +
Mild cognitive impairment or cognitive impairment without dementia + + Not reported +
Urban living Not reported Not reported - +
Low socioeconomic status or poverty Not reported + Not reported +
Occupation as housewife - + Not reported +
Depression + + Positive +
Vascular disease + + + Not reported
Low fibre diet Not reported + + -
Smoking + + Not reported Not reported


+ : Positive correlation

- : Negative correlation


  1. Kalaria RN, Maestre GE, Arizaga R, Friedland RP, Galasko D, Hall K, Luchsinger JA, Ogunniyi A, Perry EK, Potocnik F, Prince M, Stewart R, Wimo A, Zhang ZX, Antuono P (2008). "Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia in developing countries: prevalence, management, and risk factors". Lancet Neurol. 7 (9): 812–26. doi:10.1016/S1474-4422(08)70169-8. PMC 2860610. PMID 18667359.
  2. Dong MJ, Peng B, Lin XT, Zhao J, Zhou YR, Wang RH (2007). "The prevalence of dementia in the People's Republic of China: a systematic analysis of 1980-2004 studies". Age Ageing. 36 (6): 619–24. doi:10.1093/ageing/afm128. PMID 17965036.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Nitrini R, Caramelli P, Herrera E, Bahia VS, Caixeta LF, Radanovic M, Anghinah R, Charchat-Fichman H, Porto CS, Carthery MT, Hartmann AP, Huang N, Smid J, Lima EP, Takada LT, Takahashi DY (2004). "Incidence of dementia in a community-dwelling Brazilian population". Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord. 18 (4): 241–6. PMID 15592138.
  4. Brayne C (2007). "The elephant in the room - healthy brains in later life, epidemiology and public health". Nat. Rev. Neurosci. 8 (3): 233–9. doi:10.1038/nrn2091. PMID 17299455.
  5. Hendrie HC, Murrell J, Gao S, Unverzagt FW, Ogunniyi A, Hall KS (2006). "International studies in dementia with particular emphasis on populations of African origin". Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord. 20 (3 Suppl 2): S42–6. PMC 3212027. PMID 16917194.
  6. Brayne C (1991). "The EURODEM collaborative re-analysis of case-control studies of Alzheimer's disease: implications for public health". Int J Epidemiol. 20 Suppl 2: S68–71. PMID 1917271.
  7. Chen CH, Mizuno T, Elston R, Kariuki MM, Hall K, Unverzagt F, Hendrie H, Gatere S, Kioy P, Patel NB, Friedland RP, Kalaria RN (2010). "A comparative study to screen dementia and APOE genotypes in an ageing East African population". Neurobiol. Aging. 31 (5): 732–40. doi:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2008.06.014. PMC 2857314. PMID 18703255.
  8. Zhang ZX, Zahner GE, Román GC, Liu J, Hong Z, Qu QM, Liu XH, Zhang XJ, Zhou B, Wu CB, Tang MN, Hong X, Li H (2005). "Dementia subtypes in China: prevalence in Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, and Chengdu". Arch. Neurol. 62 (3): 447–53. doi:10.1001/archneur.62.3.447. PMID 15767510.
  9. Shin HY, Chung EK, Rhee JA, Yoon JS, Kim JM (2005). "[Prevalence and related factors of dementia in an urban elderly population using a new screening method]". J Prev Med Public Health (in Korean). 38 (3): 351–8. PMID 16323637.
  10. Das SK, Biswas A, Roy T, Banerjee TK, Mukherjee CS, Raut DK, Chaudhuri A (2006). "A random sample survey for prevalence of major neurological disorders in Kolkata". Indian J. Med. Res. 124 (2): 163–72. PMID 17015930.
  11. Scazufca M, Menezes PR, Vallada HP, Crepaldi AL, Pastor-Valero M, Coutinho LM, Di Rienzo VD, Almeida OP (2008). "High prevalence of dementia among older adults from poor socioeconomic backgrounds in São Paulo, Brazil". Int Psychogeriatr. 20 (2): 394–405. doi:10.1017/S1041610207005625. PMID 17559708.
  12. Hendrie HC, Osuntokun BO, Hall KS, Ogunniyi AO, Hui SL, Unverzagt FW, Gureje O, Rodenberg CA, Baiyewu O, Musick BS (1995). "Prevalence of Alzheimer's disease and dementia in two communities: Nigerian Africans and African Americans". Am J Psychiatry. 152 (10): 1485–92. doi:10.1176/ajp.152.10.1485. PMID 7573588.
  13. Llibre JJ, Guerra MA, Pérez-Cruz H, Bayarre H, Fernández-Ramírez S, González-Rodríguez M, Samper JA (1999). "[Dementia syndrome and risk factors in adults older than 60 years old residing in Habana]". Rev Neurol (in Spanish; Castilian). 29 (10): 908–11. PMID 10637837.
  14. Quiroga P, Calvo C, Albala C, Urquidi J, Santos JL, Pérez H, Klaassen G (1999). "Apolipoprotein E polymorphism in elderly Chilean people with Alzheimer's disease". Neuroepidemiology. 18 (1): 48–52. PMID 9831815.
  15. Ochayi B, Thacher TD (2006). "Risk factors for dementia in central Nigeria". Aging Ment Health. 10 (6): 616–20. doi:10.1080/13607860600736182. PMID 17050090.
  16. Suhanov AV, Pilipenko PI, Korczyn AD, Hofman A, Voevoda MI, Shishkin SV, Simonova GI, Nikitin YP, Feigin VL (2006). "Risk factors for Alzheimer's disease in Russia: a case-control study". Eur. J. Neurol. 13 (9): 990–5. doi:10.1111/j.1468-1331.2006.01391.x. PMID 16930366.
  17. Romas SN, Santana V, Williamson J, Ciappa A, Lee JH, Rondon HZ, Estevez P, Lantigua R, Medrano M, Torres M, Stern Y, Tycko B, Mayeux R (2002). "Familial Alzheimer disease among Caribbean Hispanics: a reexamination of its association with APOE". Arch. Neurol. 59 (1): 87–91. PMID 11790235.
  18. Baiyewu O, Smith-Gamble V, Lane KA, Gureje O, Gao S, Ogunniyi A, Unverzagt FW, Hall KS, Hendrie HC (2007). "Prevalence estimates of depression in elderly community-dwelling African Americans in Indianapolis and Yoruba in Ibadan, Nigeria". Int Psychogeriatr. 19 (4): 679–89. doi:10.1017/S1041610207005480. PMC 2855127. PMID 17506912.