Are women more prone to develop Alzheimer’s than men?

Nearly two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s are women, out of the over 5 million total population that has developed the disease. It has long been assumed that these numbers reflect the fact that women just live longer than men.

However, scientists are now exploring why there is a 1 in 6 chance of a woman after age 65 developing Alzheimer’s during the rest of their lives as compared with a 1 in 11 chance in men. Scientists would hope to reveal how much of the disparity is due to a woman’s longevity or other factors.

Roberta Brinton, of the University of Southern California, presented data on gender differences at the National Institutes of Health this year, and researches if menopause could be the trigger that leaves certain woman vulnerable to Alzheimer’s.

There is some evidence that a women who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s will experience a more rapid decline with the disease as scans have shown a more rapid shrinkage of certain areas of the brain.

In her studies with women and menopause and dementia, Brinton knows that menopause changes the brain.

Biological differences, lifestyles, environment and heredity all factor into future research in answering questions on the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease more so in the female population than the male.

Questions about Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia disorder? Contact Dana Territo, the Memory Whisperer, Director of Services at Alzheimer’s Services of the Capital Area, (225) 334-7494, advice@alzbr.org, or visit the organization at 3772 North Blvd., Baton Rouge.