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Women Experience Greater Burdens from Alzheimer’s than Men

Update Date: Mar 19, 2014 11:37 AM EDT
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The incidence rate of Alzheimer's disease, which is the most common type of dementia, is expected to increase drastically over the next couple of years due to the fact that more people will be reaching their senior years. Now, according to a new study, the majority of these new cases could be seen in women. Based on the latest statistics, researchers are reporting that women have a greater lifetime risk of developing Alzheimer's than men. Women are also more likely to be caretakers of Alzheimer's patients than men.

"So women are at the epicenter of Alzheimer's disease today, not only by being most likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer's, but also by being the caregiver most of the time," said Maria Carrillo, vice president the Alzheimer's Association according to NBC News.

In this report, the researchers from the Alzheimer's Association reported that women are more likely to feel the burden of the disease than men. The latest numbers reveal that three out of five Alzheimer's patients are women. After the age of 60, roughly one in six women has a lifetime risk of developing the mental condition whereas only one in 11 men has the same risk.

Aside from making up the majority of the cases, women also experience the burden of caring for others with the disease more often than men do. The researchers found that women act as caretakers 2.5 times more often than men. Females are also more likely than males to associate feeling lonely as a caretaker to depression. Furthermore, the researchers reported that when women reach their 60s, their risk of developing Alzheimer's is doubled their lifetime risk of getting breast cancer.

"Well-deserved investments in breast cancer and other leading causes of death such as heart disease, stroke and HIV/AIDS have resulted in substantial decreases in death. Comparable investments are now needed to realize the same success with Alzheimer's in preventing and treating the disease," Angela Geiger, chief strategy officer of the Alzheimer's Association, said.

The report calculated that in 2013, roughly 17.7 billion hours was spent to care for patients with Alzheimer's. These hours were unpaid and mostly contributed by female caretakers. The researchers estimated that in 2013, $214 billion will be spent on Alzheimer's patients and by 2050, that rate could go up to $1.2 trillion.

The 2014 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures can be assessed here.

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