Did you know that Alzheimer’s disease can affect men and women differently?
In our blog, “Why Alzheimer’s Disease Affects More Women Than Men”, we took a look at some of the reasons why the risk of Alzheimer’s disease might be greater for women, and how women can reduce their risk.
Drawing on insights from the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, let’s break down what you should know about how Alzheimer’s disease can be different for women.
Alzheimer’s disease and gender: 4 things women need to know
#1. Alzheimer’s disease is more common in women
It may surprise you, but more women than men end up facing Alzheimer’s disease. To put this in perspective, a woman in her 60s has a higher chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life than she does of getting breast cancer. Knowing this can help women and their families stay alert to early signs and get the help they need sooner.
#2. An Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis may be delayed
A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease involves tests of verbal memory. Generally speaking, women perform better on these sorts of tests than men, even when the disease is present. As a result, diagnosis may be delayed. By the time women are diagnosed, chances are that the disease will be more severe and they’ll decline more rapidly. This means that the support women need might change faster over time.
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#3. Gender differences in how brains work
There’s something about the way women’s brains work that might make them more susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease. For example, women often have more of these sticky protein bits called amyloid plaques, which are linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Plus, there’s a certain gene (APOE4) that can increase Alzheimer’s disease risk, and its effects seem stronger in women than in men.
#4. Other things that play a role
People who exercise are less likely to develop dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s disease. However, studies have shown that women tend to exercise less than men.
Women are also more likely than men to play a family caregiver role. Some studies suggest that spousal caregivers may be at a higher risk of cognitive impairment or dementia than non-caregivers.
It’s clear that when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease, one size doesn’t fit all. By understanding the unique ways women experience this condition, we can all be better prepared, which can put us in a position to offer better support and make more informed decisions.
Remember, if you or a loved one notice changes in memory or thinking, it’s a good idea to chat with a doctor.
About memory care communities for individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
Memory care communities are specialized senior living communities that provide compassionate dementia care that benefits both its residents and their families. Within a supportive memory care community, individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia can experience enhanced well-being and a higher quality of life. Families gain the peace of mind of knowing their loved ones are in capable hands. If a loved one is facing the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, a memory care community can be a valuable and supportive resource on this journey.
To learn more about memory care, check out our free ebook, Just the Facts: Your Guide to Memory Care. See Sinceri Senior Living’s Meaningful Moments® memory care program for yourself – schedule a tour at a community near you.