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