Why do more women than men get Alzheimer’s disease?
Scientists have long thought the main reason why more women than men get the illness is because women tend to live longer than men, and advancing age is the primary risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease.
Are You at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease?
The most damning factor in Alzheimer’s development is your age – as you get older, your risk of developing it increases. Since women are estimated to live longer than men, scientists think this could be one simple reason why they are more likely to contract the disease – especially since men die more often of heart conditions in their 50s and 60s.
Do sex differences in risk factors affect Alzheimer's risk?
The extent to which sex differences in Alzheimer's risk is due to differences in longevity and chronic diseases The impact of factors that affect only one sex, such as pregnancy and menopause The influence of estrogens and hormone therapy on brain function and Alzheimer's risk
How old is the average person with Alzheimer’s?
For the study, researchers looked at 85 women and 36 men ranging in age from 40 to 65; their average age was 52. None had memory impairment of other symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers conducted brain scans to look for the presence of amyloid plaques, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.
What is the hallmark of Alzheimer's?
The researchers conducted brain scans to look for the presence of amyloid plaques, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. They also measured volumes of gray and white matter in their brains, as well as brain levels of glucose (blood sugar) metabolism, a marker of brain activity.
Why do women have Alzheimer's?
Scientists have long thought the main reason why more women than men get the illness is because women tend to live longer than men, and advancing age is the primary risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. But a new study is revisiting the hypothesis that hormonal differences, especially estrogen, between women and men might explain the highest prevalence in women. This study suggests that the hormonal changes that occur with menopause may play an important role in explaining the gender disparity.
What are the factors that affect dementia risk in men and women?
The men and women were similar in terms of age, heart health, family history of Alzheimer’s, years of education, smoking, diabetes and other factors that may affect dementia risk. Menopausal status was the main factor that seemed to contribute to the greater degree of brain changes seen in women.
Do middle-aged women have Alzheimer's?
The study found that middle-aged women are far more likely than their male peers to have brain changes that are a pre cursor to developing Alzheimer’s, even though symptoms like impairments in memory and thinking skills are not yet apparent.
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How many people have Alzheimer's?
In the United States, nearly two-thirds of the more than#N#6 million people living with Alzheimer’s — or about 3.8 million individuals — are women .#N#For Cassie Jones of Brentwood, Tennessee, this mystery is a very real part of her life. Her maternal grandmother developed Alzheimer’s when Cassie was just a small child, and passed away when she was 16. A few years later, Cassie’s mother, Jacqueline Holloran, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.#N#“My dad told me, ‘Mom is having a little trouble with her memory,’” Cassie says. “He wouldn’t even say the word Alzheimer’s. But I knew what it meant for her future.”#N#Cassie’s mother passed away in 2006, after a 14-year battle. And then the unthinkable happened — Cassie’s older sister, Suzie, developed Alzheimer’s, too.
Why do women have memory loss?
Women may be at a greater risk of developing the disease not only because of biological factors, but also as a result of societal or cultural factors. A recent study indicates that work and family patterns, which have changed drastically over the last 100 years, may play a role in a woman’s memory decline. Women who participated in the paid labor force between early adulthood and middle age experienced slower memory decline in late life, building on previous research that associates work and education with higher levels of cognitive engagement.
Who is Cassie Jones?
For women like Cassie Jones, who have seen Alzheimer’s ravage their families, this promising research may not yield answers fast enough. But that hasn’t stopped Cassie, a mother of two, from becoming a dedicated advocate, volunteer and fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association. She’s looking to the future.
When did Cassie's mother die?
Cassie’s mother passed away in 2006, after a 14-year battle. And then the unthinkable happened — Cassie’s older sister, Suzie, developed Alzheimer’s, too.
Which is more likely to be a caregiver for Alzheimer's patients?
Not only are women more likely to develop Alzheimer's, they’re also more likely to serve as caregivers of people living with the disease.
Who is Cassie Jones' mother?
A few years later, Cassie’s mother, Jacqueline Holloran, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Women live longer
The first and most important reason is that women tend to live longer than men. If you look at actuarial life tables, you can see that a baby girl born in 2019 is likely to live five years longer than a baby boy: 81 versus 76 years.
Autoimmune disorders are more common in women
The last piece of the puzzle is that women are about twice as likely to have an autoimmune disease compared to men. The reason for this difference is not entirely clear, but it is clear that the immune system is generally stronger in women than men, and many autoimmune diseases are more common during pregnancy.
Putting the pieces together
By combining all of this information, one possible explanation as to why women’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease is greater than men’s — in addition to women living longer — is:
The bottom line
You are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease over your lifetime if you are a woman, because women live longer than men and, possibly, because women have stronger immune systems compared to men.
What about your genes? I have two E04 (?) genes and if I were younger I would have had about a 30-40% chance of getting A. Now at my age (72) it's down to 9-10% according to 23 and me. I
I like the last recommendation of doing something novel. Change and trying new things is fun and good for me.
How many brain scans are there for Alzheimer's?
In the study, researchers gave over 1,000 older adults brain scans to measure levels of amyloid plaque, one of the hallmarks of the disease. They also measured how well the participants’ brains metabolized glucose in regions affected by Alzheimer's.
How much does memory decline in women in their 60s?
When researchers studied over 6,000 women born between 1935 and 1956, they found that those who worked in early adulthood and middle age experienced about a 60 percent slower memory decline in their 60s than women who were not employed.
What are the genes that cause Alzheimer's?
A third study presented today reveals 11 different sex-specific genes for both men and women that may predispose them to Alzheimer's. Certain genes, such as MCOLN3, raise the risk only in men, while others raise the risk only in women.
Does tau affect Alzheimer's?
They found that women with MCI not only had more tau but more complex networks of it.
Does amyloid plaque affect memory?
But this advantage disappears once more severe amyloid plaque develops, and “that's when glucose metabolism in women just tanks,” she adds. “Once they can't compensate any longer, their memory starts rapidly declining."
Do women with MCI have tau?
They found that women with MCI not only had more tau but more complex networks of it. “The good news is that, initially, women are able to overcome challenges related to Alzheimer's more easily, since they draw on the greater networking power of the brain,” explains Maria Carrillo, chief science officer of the Alzheimer's Association.
Do women have better brain efficiency?
But they also discovered that women were metabolizing more brain glucose. “This suggests that women actually have better brain efficiency, and that they're able to use the glucose to help compensate for a growing brain deficit,” says Sundermann.
What is APOE4?
APOE4 AFFECTS WOMEN AND MEN DIFFERENTLY. Apolipoprotein E, known as APOE, is a gene associated with varying risk of Alzheimer's. Of the three different APOE types (APOE2, APOE3, and APOE4), the APOE4 type is associated with an increased risk for Alzheimer's disease. Women with APOE4 are more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment ...
How many caregivers are women for Alzheimer's?
Women make up about 60% of all family caregivers for Alzheimer's patients. These rates are especially high for Hispanic and African-American caregivers  . Women caregivers also have a two-fold higher caregiver burden than male caregivers and are more likely to leave their job to care for a family member.
What are the factors that affect Alzheimer's risk?
The impact of factors that affect only one sex, such as pregnancy and menopause. The influence of estrogens and hormone therapy on brain function and Alzheimer's risk.
What are the differences between women and men in genetic risk factors for Alzheimer's?
Differences between women and men in genetic risk factors for Alzheimer's, such as APOE. The impact of factors that affect both sexes, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and depression. Sex differences in Alzheimer's disease progression, including changes in cognitive functions and biological markers of Alzheimer's disease.
How many people have Alzheimer's disease?
July 2, 2018. Yuko Hara, PhD. More than 5.5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease, of whom two-thirds are women. Women also account for 60 percent of caregivers of those afflicted with Alzheimer's disease. The Society for Women's Health Research Interdisciplinary Network convened an expert panel of scientists ...
Is APOE4 more likely to cause dementia?
Women with APOE4 are more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's disease than men with APOE4  . They are also more likely than men to have worse memory performance , greater brain atrophy, and lower brain metabolism . In APOE4 carriers with mild cognitive impairment, women have higher levels ...
Who is Yuko Hara?
Yuko Hara, PhD, is Director of Aging and Alzheimer's Prevention at the Al zheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation. Dr. Hara was previously an Assistant Professor in Neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where she remains an adjunct faculty member. Her research focused on brain aging, specifically how estrogens and reproductive aging influence the aging brain's synapses and mitochondria. She earned a doctorate in neurology and neuroscience at Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences of Cornell University and a bachelor's degree in biology from Cornell University, with additional study at Keio University in Japan. Dr. Hara has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications, including articles in PNAS and Journal of Neuroscience.
Why do women have Alzheimer's?
The impact Alzheimer’s disease has on men and women varies, affecting their mental, emotional, and physical health differently. One of the reasons is the apolipoprotein (APOE) gene. There are three different types of APOE, but APOE4 is commonly linked to Alzheimer’s. Women who have this type are more likely than senior men to experience mild cognitive impairment. The odds of poor memory and lower metabolism levels are also higher for females. There’s no guarantee seniors with this gene will develop Alzheimer’s, but it would be best if your loved one gets tested early to find out if he or she has the APOE gene so preventive measures can be taken.
Why do women live longer than men?
Women typically live longer than men, which increases their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Aging is a process that negatively impacts the brain by harming neurons, which contributes to Alzheimer’s. Biological factors often help women maintain healthier and longer telomeres (the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes), and females generally outlive males by six or more years because of their telomeric length.
How can seniors reduce their risk of Alzheimer's?
The good news is seniors can reduce their risk of Alzheimer’s by living a healthy lifestyle. For example, getting at least eight hours of sleep each night allows the brain to remove dangerous toxins and lowers the risk of amyloid plaque buildup. Your loved one should also manage his or her weight and stress levels to prevent obesity and depression, which are two problems that could lead to Alzheimer’s. Social engagement can also enhance cognitive health in the senior years.
How to slow Alzheimer's progression?
For instance, eating a healthy diet, participating in stimulating activities, exercising, and staying socially active can boost brain function and promote independence . Your loved one should also visit the doctor regularly and take prescriptions correctly. Developing a strong support system at home is another way to strengthen your loved one’s health and allevia te some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
Can caregivers help seniors?
Maintaining a high quality of life can be challenging for some seniors, but professional caregivers can help them obtain this goal. Families can trust home care service experts to help their elderly loved ones focus on lifestyle choices that increase the chances of living a longer and healthier life.
Why do women have hot flashes?
Around age 40 or 50, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels drop in women . Often times these changes cause women to experience hot flashes or bouts of depression, but the effects of change could have a lingering impact on the brain, too.
How many people have Alzheimer's disease?
Scientists are still unraveling why Alzheimer’s disease affects men and women disproportionately. Out of the 5 million Americans who have it, about 64 percent are women.
What is the gene that causes Alzheimer's?
One of the greatest biological risk factors for Alzheimer’s comes from a gene called APOE4, which has been liked to an increase in risk in both men and women. But having this gene could be even more dire for women – a 2014 study found that female participants had an even greater risk of developing the disease than men with the gene.
Why do women have Alzheimer's?
Since women are estimated to live longer than men, scientists think this could be one simple reason why they are more likely to contract the disease – especially since men die more often of heart conditions in their 50s and 60s.
Does menopause cause Alzheimer's?
First of all, the use of hormone therapies after women go through menopause does not have an effect on their likeliness to develop Alzheimer’s. But when hormones are added as women transition into menopause, the therapies can be effective in lessening their likelihood to develop the disease.
When was the Kronos study?
But over the past 15 years, she has seen the field change. In 2005, a study dubbed the Kronos Early Estrogen Prevention Study was launched, and studied women’s responses to estrogen and progesterone for four years.
Can hormone therapy help with Alzheimer's?
Researchers have looked into whether hormone therapy could be a solution to preventing Alzheimer’s in post-menopausal women since the 1990s. A 1996 study published in JAMA tested hormone replacement therapy in women, finding that estrogen supplements led to a decrease in Alzheimer’s development when administered before menopause.