While anyone over the age of 30 is at risk for getting Alzheimer’s disease, it is mostly a disease of advancing age. The largest percentage of people with the disease are over 65 years old. The disease strikes around 10 percent of people over 65, but jumps to almost 50 percent of people 85 and older.
- You are at a higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease if you have parents or siblings who have had the disease. There is a genetic test for risk for Alzheimer’s disease called apolipoprotein E-e4 (APOE-e4). This test is not perfect and simply shows that you have an increased risk for the disease if you carry this APOE-e4 gene.
- People with a history of head injury or heavy tobacco or alcohol use are also at higher risk.
- There also seems to be a strong link between heart health and Alzheimer’s disease, with people who have heart disease much more likely to then be stricken with Alzheimer’s.
On the other hand, people who are socially active, as in a church or other group, for example, are much less likely to get the disease, as are people who stay mentally challenged throughout their lives. People who exercise on a consistent basis also are much less likely to get Alzheimer’s.