September 16, 2019
Scientists are at long last starting to get a handle on the discrepancy between Alzheimer’s diagnoses in women and men. At this time, up to 2/3 of those with Alzheimer’s in the U.S. are female, and as researchers start to better comprehend the specific nuances driving this phenomenon, we can begin to target Alzheimer’s risk factors.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s Director of Scientific Engagement, Rebecca Edelmayer, “Women are at the epicenter of Alzheimer’s disease as both persons living with the disease and as caregivers of those with dementia. Over the last three years, the Alzheimer’s Association has invested $3.2 million into 14 projects looking at sex differences for the disease and some of the findings today may explain risk, prevalence, and rate of decline for women.”
The longstanding notion has been that women essentially have a longer than expected lifespan, and we recognize that Alzheimer’s becomes more common as people get older. However, the idea has shifted to also include the following further determinants:
- Biology. Vanderbilt University Medical Center scientists found that females with mild cognitive impairment had a far more accelerated spread of tau (the protein in the brain associated with loss of brain cells), as well as a larger extent of tau network connectivity, than that of men.
- Memory. A report carried out by the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine identified higher scores on verbal memory tests in females than males, this might contribute to the ability of women’s brains to compensate for cognitive impairments and to the postponement of a medical diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
- Employment. Memory decrease in women ages 60 – 70 who never had a job was more significant than in women with regular employment, according to the results of a report conducted by the University of California Los Angeles – revealing that “consistent cognitive stimulation from work helps increase cognitive reserve in women.”
- Lifestyle. Seeing that a healthy way of living, particularly a lowered frequency of stress, helps reduce Alzheimer’s risk factors, women are especially susceptible – as they are frequently in the role of family caregiver, a recognized inducer of tension.
These studies emphasize the necessity for women to take care of their own overall health, and Continuum, top providers of dementia care St. Louis and the surrounding communities depend on, is prepared to assist. We offer the trusted respite care that enables family caregivers to take much needed breaks from caring for their loved ones and focus on self-care. Our caregivers are specifically trained and knowledgeable in meeting the unique needs of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, providing family members the peace of mind in knowing their senior loved ones are receiving the most effective care. Call us at (314) 863-9912 or (636) 861-3336 to learn more.