There are 5.4 million Americans today who are living with Alzheimer’s disease. Two thirds of them are women. Why exactly this debilitating disease affects women so disproportionately is not quite clear and experts decided that it is important to find out. Their recommendations are published in the latest Journal of Women’s Health.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a kind of dementia which affects memory, behavior and cognitive abilities. Alzheimer’s can affect people in their 40s, but it is normally more common among people 65 and older. It does not mean that all old people suffer from it, or that it is normal part of being old.
Exactly what causes Alzheimer’s is not well known, although scientists believe that the symptom of the disease show the death of certain brain cells due to the deposit of types of proteins called plaques and tangles.
The disease is progressive and it is the six cause of death in the US. There is currently no cure, just help with symptoms.
Sex and Alzheimer’s
Sex differences in male and female brains, such as in anatomy, reduction in brain volume due to age, and brain metabolism of glucose are well known. Scientists now believe that they might be the key in understanding the origin of Alzheimer’s disease. So far, why exactly these differences cause two times more women to develop the disease is not clear.
Experts hope that their recommendation will lead other scientists researching the Alzheimer’s disease to fill the gaps in the current knowledge, taking into account the prevalence among women.
Alzheimer’s disease is only one of six common causes of death among Americans that has no cure and which cannot be prevented. It is estimated that the number of people suffering from Alzheimer”s will rise to almost 16 million by the 2050, unless the prevention, or cure, are developed.
Alzheimer’s disease is affecting not only people who are suffering from it, but their caregivers, public and private. As the disease can progress slowly, patients can live a long life, unable to care for themselves. This puts huge burden on their families, as well on the health care system.