Friday, July 10, 2015

                           Are Women at Higher Risk for Dementia?       


FACT: Almost two-thirds of people in the US with Alzheimer's disease are women.
FACT: At age 65, women have a 1:6 chance of developing the disease compared to men, where the chance is 1:11. 

Is it because women tend to live longer than men?  Genetics? Hormones? Cardiovascular health?

While it's true that women outlive men by an average of 5 years, we know that Alzheimer's actually begins long before the diagnosis is made - perhaps as long as 20 years.  And the pace of the disease appears to be faster in women.

It turns out that women who carry an ApoE-4 variant are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's compared to women without the gene.  Whether other factors/co-factors are at play and whether the approach to diagnosis, treatment and prevention should be different in women vs. men remains to be seen.

                                                                                                                        Judith Wolf, MD
                                                                                                                        Associate Director, WHEP