Understanding Alzheimer's Genes: Know Your Family History


Alzheimer’s disease is an illness of the brain. It breaks down connections among brain cells and causes these cells to die. Over time, this affects how well a person can remember, think clearly, and use good judgment. Alzheimer’s begins slowly and gets worse over time.

Many people wonder if Alzheimer’s runs in the family. Your chance of having the disease may be higher if you have certain genes passed down from a parent. However, having a parent with Alzheimer’s does not always mean that you will develop it.

This booklet will help you learn:

  • what genes are
  • how genes relate to Alzheimer’s disease
  • what it means if you have a family history of Alzheimer’s

Tips about using this booklet

Use the Table of Contents to help you find things quickly. Some medical terms, such as genes, are in bold. You can find how to say these words and what they mean in the “Words to know” section.

Publication Date: August 2016
Page Last Updated: October 4, 2016