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Risk Factors for Alzheimer Disease

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:

Condition InDepth

Risk Factors for Alzheimer Disease

A risk factor raises your chances of getting a health problem. You can get Alzheimer disease (AD) with or without the ones listed here. But the more you have, the greater your chances are of getting it.

AD is more common in people over 65 years of age. It is also more common in people who have a family history of the disease.

Medical Conditions

People who have these health problems may be at greater risk:


People who have higher education levels are less likely to get AD. This may be because they are more likely to be active and involved in their social groups. It may also be that their brains can keep working as usual even with the damage caused by AD. This is called “cognitive reserve.”

Social Factors

People with active social lives may be less likely to get the disease than those who are not.


People who eat unhealthy diets high in salt and red meat may be at greater risk. It may reduce the risk of Alzheimer to eat a diet with lots of:
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Seafood


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  • Rimas Lukas, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.