As I reported in October 2015, Alzheimer’s disease has a disproportionate impact on women. As we close out 2018, the statistics have not improved for us. In fact, two-thirds of America’s 6 million Alzheimer’s patients are women. It’s time for us to pay special attention to women and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Every 65 seconds, someone in the US develops Alzheimer’s
- At age 65, a woman has a 1 in 6 chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Her risk for breast cancer is 1 in 11.
- Also by age 65, a woman is twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s than a man. By age 75, she is three times as likely.
- More than 60% of unpaid Alzheimer’s caregivers (friends and family of Alzheimer patients) are women.
More Likely In Women
It seems like Alzheimer’s disease can affect any family at any time. So why is it more prevalent among women? Is it because women live longer than men? After all, the disease is more prevalent as we age. But we now know that the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s often begin 20 years before they are ever diagnosed.
Genetic risk factors are now getting more attention and focus. Back in the 1990s, scientists found that the presence of the ApoE4 gene was the primary culprit in the patient’s memory and other mental abilities. Further tests showed that this is more applicable to females.
Heart disease and smoking are also considered contributors to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. So is depression, which is more common in women than in men. And there is always the deepening discussion around hormonal changes that are so much more intense for women as they age.
Because women usually take on the responsibility of caregiving, there is some research that points to this extra emotional burden as a possible risk factor.
Alzheimer’s patients and their families have a great amount of uncertainty and difficult decisions in their future. If you or someone you love is a woman, extra care should be taken to prepare for this disease.
Don’t get caught by surprise when the statistics are this powerful. You can begin by clicking here to receive your free, no-obligation quote for a long term care insurance policy.