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Does my family history put me at a higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease than other people?
Genetic testing is usually considered when a person might be at higher risk for a particular condition. Here we help you explore whether you may be at greater risk of getting late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, the form which affects older people, based on your family history.
Everyone is at risk
On average 1 out of every 100 people will develop Alzheimer’s by the time they turn 70. By 85, the risk is about 10 out of every 100 people.
Probability of developing Alzheimer’s disease (or not) by ages 70 and 85.
- The purple parts of each bar show the chance of developing Alzheimer’s
- The gray parts of each bar show the chance of not developing Alzheimer’s
Risk for the General Population by Age 70 by Age 85
Risk if a close family member had Alzheimer's by Age 70 by Age 85
A family history of Alzheimer’s may increase your risk
If any of your parents, brothers, or sisters have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, your chance of developing this disease nearly doubles. The numbers shown above are estimates; exact numbers are not known.
- Alzheimer’s disease is hard to diagnose and may have been misdiagnosed in your family.
- Dementia can arise from many causes, only one of which is Alzheimer’s.
- Non-inherited factors such as head injuries and things that raise your risk for heart disease — such as smoking, obesity, poorly controlled diabetes, lack of exercise, and high blood pressure — may be involved. We don’t yet understand all the non-inherited factors that influence one’s risk for Alzheimer’s.
Gather your family history
To determine if your family history may put you at higher risk, you need to know if anyone in your immediate family (parents, brothers and sisters) has or had late onset Alzheimer’s.
Once you know your family history please answer the question below.
Note: If you are adopted or otherwise unable to obtain your family history, this question may not apply to your final decision, but you can select “I am unsure of my family history” below.
To learn more about the role of Family History see Resources.