Genetic Vulnerability to Alzheimer’s Disease is a Coin Toss

It was a shock the first time I heard the term “genetic vulnerability” uttered from the neurologist’s lips at a follow-up appointment after my mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. This doctor wanted to make sure I understood as a child of an Alzheimer’s patient I was 50% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease myself and should take all appropriate measures for that reason.

By nature I am mathematically inclined, so I ran the numbers quickly through my head. I am one of five children in my family, and our genetic vulnerability makes it possible for two or three of us to develop Alzheimer’s disease at some point. This shocking discovery solidified dementia as a permanent fixture in my life, not ending with my mother’s death but continuing on as a constant threat looming large upon the hazy horizon for my family.  With a 50/50 chance, Alzheimer’s is a coin toss for us all: heads you get it, tails you don’t.

The article “Seven Siblings: Who Will Get Alzheimer’s?” recently reminded me of these cruel statistics. I am certainly not alone pondering the probabilities of the future as it relates to Alzheimer’s disease. It is a permanent part of my life, there is no denying it or dodging the bullet. For that reason, I continue to learn as much as I can about Alzheimer’s disease, especially the recommendations for prevention.

Reference: ABC News: Seven Siblings: Who Will Get Alzheimer’s?
Image: ICMA Photos
Brought To Our Senses family saga novel by Kathleen H. Wheeler

2 thoughts on “Genetic Vulnerability to Alzheimer’s Disease is a Coin Toss

  1. Jean Ferratier

    I believe it is absolutely true that once a member of a family has been diagnosed there is a tiny bit of fear hidden away in the recesses of our mind that it could happen to us too. Actually, I jump to conclusions when I forget or lose something. Everyone forgets things and if I just relax the thought or thing is found. I was surprised that I was not the only one in the family who experienced this. One day my 18 year-old daughter couldn’t remember something and she said she is worried. Alzheimer’s is bad enough but it leaves a trail of legacy behind it.

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