HLT wrote:My Dad’s side all had heart disease and my Dad’s mom had heart disease and vascular dementia. I also have the gene for estrogen-caused cancers and have had breast cancer on both sides of my family and uterine cancer on my moms side. Sometimes I feel like I’m a ticking time bomb... lol. I try to take it in stride though.... I was diagnosed with Psoriasis about a year and a half ago so Ive been dealing with that the most, trying to get my stress down but have no support at home so my stress has actually been going up. I actually read the other day that HomoE2’s have a high occurrence of psoriasis so that was interesting...I didn’t realize that was so unusual...is it unusual because there are two different alleles or because its 2 & 4? I don’t know much yet about the risks or “rewards” of having certain alleles yet....
It sounds like the last couple of years have been a whirlwind of thinking about your extended family's health history, getting your DNA results, and receiving a diagnosis of psoriasis. No wonder you're feeling that your stress is going up, not down, and that you're a "ticking time bomb".
A piece of good news is that you are not "homozygous" ApoE 2 and "heterozygous" ApoE 4--you are a lovely combination of one Apoe 2 from one parent, and one ApoE 4 from the other parent. Impossible to say which parent gave which, since each of them also has two genes or "allleles" for ApoE. But the terms given to our combos are to first put them together and then label them based on whether you have two of the same or two different ones. So I am ApoE 4/4 (one from each parent) which makes me homozygous ApoE 4. You are ApoE 2/4 (we usually put the lower number first (it's doesn't mean it's more important) and would be considered heterozygous ApoE 2/4.
Most of us just say "I'm a 4/4" or "3/4" or "2/4" for shorthand. Most scientific articles refer to people having no, one or two copies of ApoE 4, or sometimes just group ApoE 2/4. 3/4 and 4/4 together as "ApoE 4 positive".
So any risks you read about the very rare ApoE 2/2 group (maybe about 1% of people of European ancestry) don't apply to you in the same way. More good news: Some researchers believe that people with ApoE 2/4 may have a risk for either Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) or dementia by the age of 85 of a little more than the most common ApoE 3/3 (which has about a 10-15% risk) but a little less than ApoE 3/4 (which may have about a 20-25% risk). And those estimates only apply to people age 60 or older; you're risks are likely to be lower because of healthier diet, exercise, air, water, and better health care monitoring of risks.
To put that another way, it is reasonable to assume that you have a better than 75% chance of never being diagnosed with dementia--especially if you don't
smoke, or drink heavily or have mid-life obesity or have untreated high blood pressure. Right now, probably the best thing you could do for yourself, since you don't have a lot of family support, is to either check out some blogs or books on mindfulness which is great for learning how to turn off negative, anxious thinking, and try to get some regular exercise, time outside in daylight--and around trees and water--according to some research which shows the effect of nature on our cortisol stress levels, and then some good sleep.
Knowing your family's history of heart disease, and your genetic risk for cancers, means you can work with your doctors to monitor the early warning signs at a younger age. I discovered that I was at an increased risk for a rare cancer at a young age due to medication my mother took for 4 months during pregnancy to prevent a miscarriage. Because I found out at age 18, I have been able to have that monitored for almost 50 years and so avoided cancer, premature birth of my own children and other health issues. Knowledge can be power, not crippling, if we view it as under our control!
If you want to delve a little deeper eventually into ApoE 3/4 info, here's some good sources on this forum:
* The Primer
, written by Stavia, a physician with ApoE 4/4, is my trusted source for information and for her advice to not dive down every rabbit hole, but to decide to embrace life, with all its complexities.
* "How-To" Get the most out of the ApoE4.info website
will show you easy ways to search for info on ApoE 2/4, reply to members, and navigate this sometimes tricky software!
We hope you feel free to share more and ask questions as you move through this new landscape of life.