Scientists are finally beginning to get a grip on the imbalance between dementia in women as compared to men. At this time, approximately 2/3 of those with Alzheimer’s in the U.S. are female, and as scientists begin to better comprehend the specific intricacies driving this phenomenon, we are able to start to target them.
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 historic theory has long been that women simply have a longer lifespan, and we are aware that Alzheimer’s becomes more widespread as age increases. All the same, the theory has changed to include the following further determinants:
- Biology. Vanderbilt University Medical Center scientists found that females with minor cognitive impairment had a more accelerated spread of tau (the protein in the brain connected to loss of brain cells), along with a higher extent of tau network connectivity, as compared to men.
- Memory. An investigation conducted by the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine reported higher scores on verbal memory tests in females than men, which might play a role in the ability of women’s brains to compensate for cognitive impairments and to the delay of a medical diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
- Employment. Memory decline in women ages 60 – 70 who seldom had a job was more significant than in women with constant employment, per the conclusions of research done 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, such as a reduced incidence of stress, helps reduce Alzheimer’s risk, women can be especially susceptible – because they are most frequently in the role of family caregiver, a recognized inducer of stress.
These studies focus on the need for women to take care of their own health and wellness, and Atlanta Home Care Partners, one of the top-rated home health agencies in Atlanta and the surrounding areas, is prepared to assist. We offer the reliable respite care that enables family caregivers to take much needed breaks from caring for their loved ones and focus on self-care. Our dementia 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 cherished older adults are receiving the most effective care. Contact us at (404) 228-0103 for additional information.