Researchers are finally starting to get a grip on the discrepancy between Alzheimer’s diagnoses in women and men. Right now, up to 2/3 of individuals with Alzheimer’s in the United States are female, and as scientists continue to better understand the specific intricacies behind this trend, we are able to begin to target them.
As reported by 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 historic theory has long been that women essentially have a greater than expected lifespan, and we recognize that Alzheimer’s gets to be more widespread as people get older. However, the theory has changed to include the following additional determinants:
- Biology. Vanderbilt University Medical Center researchers found that women with mild cognitive impairment had a far more accelerated spread of tau (the protein in the brain linked to loss of brain cells), along with a higher extent of tau network connectivity, than that of men.
- Memory. A report conducted by the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine discovered higher scores on verbal memory tests in females than males, which might play a role in the potential of women’s brains to compensate for cognitive impairments and to the delay of a medical diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
- Employment. Memory decrease in females ages 60 – 70 who never worked was more significant than in women with continual employment, per the results of research conducted by the University of California Los Angeles – indicating that “consistent cognitive stimulation from work helps increase cognitive reserve in women.”
- Lifestyle. Given that a healthy lifestyle, including a diminished frequency of stress, helps decrease Alzheimer’s risk, women can be particularly vulnerable – since they are typically in the role of family caregiver, a recognized inducer of tension.
These conclusions emphasize the need for women to take care of their own health and wellness, and Home Sweet Home In-Home Care is prepared to assist. We offer the reliable respite care that makes it possible for family caregivers to take much recommended breaks from caring for their loved ones and focus on self-care. Our caregivers are specifically trained and experienced in meeting the unique needs of those with Alzheimer’s disease, providing family members the peace of mind in knowing their senior loved ones are benefiting from the highest quality care. Reach out to us at (269) 373-5444 to find out more about our Kalamazoo senior care services. You can also reach us at (269) 849-9252 (St Joseph), (269) 763-5350 (Paw Paw, MI) or (269) 963-9888 (Battle Creek, MI).