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Understanding Your Alzheimer’s Risk and the APOE Gene

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that affects memory, thinking, and behavior. It’s the most common cause of dementia, and while there’s no cure, understanding your genetic predisposition can help you take proactive steps to manage your risk.

One of the genes strongly linked to Alzheimer’s risk is the APOE gene. Variations in this gene influence how your body processes cholesterol, which in turn affects your likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s.

What does the APOE gene do?

The APOE gene provides instructions for making a protein called apolipoprotein E. This protein combines with fats to create lipoproteins, which help transport cholesterol and other fats throughout your body.

How does APOE affect Alzheimer’s risk?

There are three common variants of the APOE gene: ε2, ε3, and ε4. Each person inherits two copies of the gene, one from each parent. The ε4 variant is associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s, while the ε2 variant may actually offer some protection.

Here’s a breakdown of how each variant affects risk:

It’s important to note that having the ε4 variant doesn’t guarantee you’ll develop Alzheimer’s. Many people with ε4 never develop the disease, while some people without ε4 do. However, understanding your genetic risk can help you make informed decisions about lifestyle choices and potential treatments.

Additional factors that influence Alzheimer’s risk:

How can I learn my APOE status?

A (DNA Test)[/] can reveal your APOE genotype.

If you’re concerned about your Alzheimer’s risk, talking to a genetic counselor can help you understand your results and make informed decisions about your health.

Additional resources:


The information on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional before making any decisions about your health.