Women are more likely to develop Alzheimer's than men. Researchers haven’t been able to fully explain this phenomenon. There are several theories. Some scientists have tried to find a relation between Alzheimer's and longevity. Aged people are more likely to develop Alzheimer's. Since women tend to live longer than men, they are more likely to get it. While this sounds logical, it is a misconception.
Alzheimer's and other memory problems affect 47.5 million people around the world. The actual figures may be even higher. Dementia has affected most of us at some level. Nearly all of us have a relative or a friend suffering from a memory disorder.
Both men and women develop Alzheimer's; however, women tend to have a higher risk. Why is it so?
Here are some common theories that seem to explain this.
Hormonal influence may be an important factor. The Washington Post recently published an interview with Roberta Diaz Brinton who is a University professor. She has been studying the association between falling estrogen levels and Alzheimer's in women. When women go through menopause, the estrogen levels in their body drop dramatically. The human brain burns glucose to produce energy. Lower estrogen levels affect this process. When the brain doesn't get enough energy, it will start burning ketone bodies for creating energy. While this backup system can power the brain cells, it has several limitations. For example, the burning of ketone bodies results in the creation of byproducts that could damage the brain cells. The same thing happens in people who suffer from Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes also increases a person's risk for getting Alzheimer's.
Your genes increase or decrease your risks for developing many diseases. Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine recently conducted a study on over 8,000 men and women over 60. They discovered that women who carried a copy of the gene variant ApoE4 had much higher risk for getting Alzheimer's than women who didn't carry this gene. Interestingly, the presence of this gene doesn't increase men's risk for Alzheimer's.
Surgeries may also increase a woman's risk for Alzheimer's. Some studies have shown that women who undergo a hysterectomy have higher risk for developing Alzheimer's. During a hysterectomy, doctors tend to remove the ovaries. This increases a woman's risk for Alzheimer's by 140%. Younger women who undergo hysterectomy have increased risk for developing Alzheimer's than older women.
Can we fight Alzheimer's?
There is still no cure for Alzheimer's. By educating yourself about your family's medical history, you can keep yourself better prepared to deal with this illness if you or a dear one develops this. If you are worried that you or a relative is showing signs of Alzheimer's, contact your physician immediately.
An Alzheimer's diagnosis is a difficult situation to deal with. Don't lose heart. Right at Home Niagara offers Alzheimer's care services to families. Contact us to learn how our caregiving services can make life easier for you and your loved ones.