Alzheimer's Disease

Frequently Asked Questions

8. What causes Alzheimer's disease?

Scientists do not yet fully understand what causes Alzheimer's disease in most people. In early-onset Alzheimer’s, which occurs in people between the ages of 30 and 60, a genetic mutation is usually the cause. Late-onset Alzheimer’s, which usually develops after age 60, arises from a complex series of brain changes that occur over decades. The causes probably include a mix of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. These factors affect each person differently.

Learn more about the genetics of Alzheimer’s disease.

Increasing age is the most important known risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. Lifestyle factors, such as diet and physical exercise, and long-term health conditions, like high blood pressure and diabetes, might also play a role in the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.