While Alzheimer’s is primarily a random disease, there does exist a rare, hereditary form called Familial Alzheimer’s disease. Familial Alzheimer’s affects less than 10 percent of all Alzheimer’s patients; those with familial Alzheimer’s stand a 50 percent chance of passing it on to their children.
Over 90 percent of Alzheimer’s patients suffer from a non-genetic strain termed Sporadic Alzheimer’s disease. There is no known cause for this illness, for which the only accepted risk factor is old age. Some experts believe there is a link between Alzheimer’s and health disorders such as high cholesterol and obesity. Scientists have even considered a possible relationship between the disease and mental inactivity. For the most part, however, there is no way to determine who is and isn’t at risk for Alzheimer’s.