Alzheimer's Disease Disproportionately Targets Women, Report Finds
Just one more thing for us to be worried about: Alzheimer's Disease affects far more women than men. A report from the Alzheimer’s Association indicates that not only are females more likely than males to suffer from the disease, but more women tend to take on the responsibility of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's. In fact, women in their 60s are about twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's than breast cancer, according to the report.
One in every six women will develop Alzheimer's in their lifetimes, whereas only one in 11 men are expected to get the disease after age 65. About 5.5 million people currently have Alzheimer's, which is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. As our population lives longer and longer, that number is expected to triple by 2050.
Women also often shoulder the burden of putting their own lives on hold to care for someone else with Alzheimer's. As USA Today reports:
More than twice as many women provide Alzheimer's care than men, the care they provide is sustained and time-consuming, and substantially more women than men have to cut back on work hours, give up jobs and/or lose benefits to provide that care, the study shows. Obviously, caring for a loved one who is slowly losing their memory and heading toward death takes an emotional toll as well.
"I'm a widow, and I have a child," Angie Carrillo, whose husband has Alzheimer's, tells NBC News.
There is no cure, and the Alzheimer's Association cites the need for funding if we want to see any successes similar to heart disease and HIV/AIDS treatments. The U.S. is projected to spend about $214 billion this year on Alzheimer's research.
Afraid that a family member might be developing Alzheimer's? Early warning signs of Alzheimer's include memory loss, repeating the same things over and over, difficulty in doing familiar activities at home, mood changes, and speaking problems.