As the most common cause of dementia, most of us have heard of Alzheimer’s disease. It’s a condition that disrupts behavior, memory, and cognition, and its eventual progression will eventually lead to death. Typically, a person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s lives no more than 8 years after their initial diagnosis, although some people with mitigating factors may live as long as 20 more years.
Many people wonder “Is Alzheimer’s genetic?” This concerning disease has been studied extensively, and doctors and researchers have found some involvement from a genetic component. It can affect anyone, but generally, individuals who have close family members with this condition are much more likely to experience it themselves. In the last several years, researchers have been able to identify several ‘risk genes’, which can indicate that a person may be more likely to develop Alzheimer’s.
Today, we’ll explore the APOE gene, the very first risk gene associated with Alzheimer’s, and discuss how resources like GenoPalate can help you identify and learn more about your own personal risk factors.
What is the APOE Gene?
APOE stands for apolipoprotein E gene. Healthy adults inherit one copy of the APOE gene from each parent. Having either one or two variations on this gene increases your risk for developing Alzheimer’s.
It’s estimated that 25-30% of the general population carries the variation associated with Alzheimer’s, which is written as APOE e4. However, despite the large percentage of people who have APOE e4 variations, not all of them will develop Alzheimer’s.
Can I Prevent or Delay Alzheimer’s?
Diets that are rich in fruits and vegetables and low in fat have been shown to lower an individual’s risk for Alzheimer’s. Diets that have been identified as particularly effective are the Mediterranean diet (which advocates for increased consumption of veggies, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats, and fish), and the MIND diet, which combines elements of the Mediterranean diet with foods that help to lower blood pressure.
Staying physically active on a regular basis has been shown to decrease an individual’s risk for developing Alzheimer’s. To see these benefits, aim to exercise several times a week for 30-60 minutes at a time. This physical activity helps keep blood flowing to the brain, potentially slowing the development of cognitive decline.
High blood pressure can also contribute to an increased risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Diet and exercise both play a big role in lowering blood pressure, as does limiting alcohol intake, and quitting smoking.
Pursuing a habit of life-long learning doesn’t just make you smarter. It also helps to keep your brain stimulated, which helps it stay healthier. You can engage in healthy cognitive training in a variety of ways. Here are some of our favorites:
- Read interesting and challenging books
- Play strategy games
- Stay social, and meet new people
- Learn a new skill or hobby
Genetic Testing for the APOE Gene
There’s no need to be afraid of Alzheimer’s disease. By understanding your genetic profile and taking steps to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle, you can mitigate your risk of developing the disease.
Investing in a nutrition DNA test from GenoPalate is a great way to learn more about your genes, and whether you have the APOE gene variation that could put you at higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
Purchasing our kit also allows you to take your genetic results, and obtain a personalized nutrition analysis that will tell you exactly what foods you should be eating to maintain a healthy diet, based on your unique DNA. It’s a great way to take the guesswork out of healthy eating.
Start your journey to a healthier diet today with GenoPalate.