First Time User? Sign Up Now
First Time User? Enroll now.
Home > Health Library > Apolipoprotein E-4 Genetic (DNA) Test
Most people who develop Alzheimer's disease do not have a history of the disease in their families. But if you do have a family history of Alzheimer's disease (one or more members of a family have had the disease), then your risk of getting it is higher. When a disease is found in families, the cause could be genetic (heredity), something in the environment, lifestyle choices, or a combination of these things.
A blood test can look for a substance that seems to increase a person's risk for Alzheimer's disease. The gene is called apolipoprotein E-4 (ApoE-4). The presence of ApoE-4 cannot predict for sure whether a person will develop Alzheimer's disease. Many people who have the ApoE-4 gene do not get Alzheimer's disease, and many people who do not have the gene still develop the disease. Most experts do not consider ApoE-4 testing a necessary or useful part of evaluating a person with suspected Alzheimer's disease.
Sometimes people develop Alzheimer's disease at a young age, between the ages of 30 and 60. This is referred to as early-onset Alzheimer's disease or autosomal dominant Alzheimer's disease. It is not common (less than 5 out of 100 cases), and this form of the disease has been linked to defects in specific genes. There is a 50% risk that these genes will be passed on. A person who inherits the genetic defect will most likely develop Alzheimer's disease.
Current as ofSeptember 11, 2018
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineMyron F. Weiner, MD - Geriatric Psychiatry
Current as of:
September 11, 2018
Medical Review:Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Myron F. Weiner, MD - Geriatric Psychiatry
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2018 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
475 Progress Blvd.
Siler City, NC 27344
UNC Health Care Citrix
Chatham Hospital Intranet
Copyright 2019 UNC Health Care. All rights reserved.