Is Alzheimer's hereditary?

2 answers | Last updated: Nov 10, 2016
Debbiel6 asked...

I am 48 years old and I lost my father to Alzheimer's and last week my 66 year old brother passed from Alzheimer's. My mother has also passed away. My immediate family is gone. I have asked my doctor if I should be tested for Alzheimer's. She told me that it is only 50/50 correct. Does anyone have the same issues in their family?

Expert Answers

A social worker and geriatric consultant who specializes in dementia care, Joyce Simard is based in Land O' Lakes, Florida, and in Prague. She is a well-known speaker and has written two books, one focusing on end-of-life care and the other, entitled The Magic Tape Recorder, explaining aging, memory loss, and how children can be helpers to their elders.

There is no test for Alzheimer's disease unless the cause of their AD is caused by a "bad" gene and you know what the bad gene is. My best advice is to make sure that you keep your blood pressure under control, exercise to maintain a healthy weight, wear a helmet if you go bike riding and keep you mind active. do crossword puzzles, sudoku, sign in a choir, anything but watching television will stimulate your mind. The Alzheimer's Association has a "Maintain Your Brain" program you can find on line at

Community Answers

Juneyhod answered...

I am never given a straight answer by doctors when I ask if Alzeimer's is hereditary. My step-mum has it and she had 2 brothers & 3 sisters. All three sisters had the disease but the brothers didn't, although one brother died reasonably young and the other (I never met him) was described as 'poor Bernard. He was always odd' and died, in middle age. My step-mum used to play tennis at county level (UK) and would swim a lot too. She tells me she has never read a book in her life and became physically inactive about 15 years ago (she's now 85). Since then she developed the symptoms of Alzheimer's and I'm sure her active life helped kept the symptoms at bay. So I'm going to start an exercise programme and keep up with the book reading and cryptic crosswords.