Many conditions can cause dementia. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the leading cause of dementia. Dementia related to depression, drug interaction, thyroid and other problems may be reversible if detected early. It is important to identify the actual type of dementia in order to receive proper care.

Causes of Alzheimer’s disease and the buildup of amyloid plaques in the brain are still unknown for the majority of cases. Researchers and physicians believe that a combination of genetic, environmental and life-style factors may lead to the disease but there is no definitive answer. See Prevention for how doctors and researchers believe you can minimize your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

There is one exception, families who have a history of early-onset AD (AD before the age of 65), can pass a genetically transferrable gene mutation to their children. Mutations found in the APP, PSEN 1 or PSEN 2 genes, if inherited will cause Early-Onset Familial Alzheimer’s (EOFA). However this genetic link is extremely rare and only found in a small portion of all Alzheimer’s cases.