Alzheimer's is one form of dementia. Your mom may have had Alzheimer's and another form such as vascular dementia, or she may have just had Alzheimer's. If she had early on-set Alzheimer's (before age 65) you could perhaps carry a gene that would put you at increased risk. If she was significantly older, the fact that she had Alzheimer's may not put you more at risk.
Lifestyle, such as diet, exercise and keeping the mind active are thought to help keep the disease at bay for some people, but there are no guarantees. Please don't let this shadow affect your life more than it should. Stay healthy in all the ways you can control and have regular checkups. If anyone in your family feels that he or she is suffering from memory loss or other early signs of dementia, then please get checked out by a specialist.
It is necessary to draw a distinction between dementia and Alzheimer's disease. "Dementia" refers to a set of symptoms displayed due to loss of brain function that can be brought on by various conditions and illnesses. There are reversible and non-reversible types of dementia. Alzheimer's diseas' is a (nonreversible) type of dementia, and is the most common type. In regards to your concerns for your own risk of developing Alzheimer's-type dementia, it is important to understand the difference between the two categories of Alzheimer's disease: young (or early) onset and late onset. Young onset affects people who are usually younger than 65 or even as young as the late-thirties. "Familial" early onset is an inherited form of the disease that is due to genetic mutations. This sub-type has a very strong history in families, and the odds of future generations developing the illness are significantly higher than the odds for someone without such a family history. The late onset category of Alzheimer's disease, also known as "sporadic" Alzheimer's disease is also thought to have a genetic predisposition component to it (though this component differs from that seen in the familial early-onset version). Only about 20% of families with a history of sporadic Alzheimer's disease are at greater risk for developing the illness in future generations. It is important to understand that having the genetic predisposition for the disease does not necessarily mean an individual will, in fact, go on to develop the disease. And, while genetics are believed to play some role in who develops Alzheimer's disease, but it is not the only factor. At this time, it is thought that environment and lifestyle choices also play a part. If you have any concerns and/or are experiencing symptoms, it is recommended that you discuss them with your primary care physician.
She may have both Alzheimer's and vascular dementia. They are 2 types of dementia. Each type of dementia has its own chraracteristics. So you need to find out from the doctor what types of dementia she has.
Each type has different genetic factors. My FIL has late stage of Alzheimer's. However there are many factors why he got Alzheimer's. So my husband and his half brother may not get Alzheimer's. There may be 5% chance for regular onset Alzheimer's but again genes is not the only factor.
I would not worry too much about it. Howeve, if it is early onset Alzheimer's and that you have many elderly relatives who have Alzheimer's, you may need to check with the specialist about what to do. They may recommend that you check it out for yourself later on but there is nothing they can do to "cure" or prevent it.
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