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Women are more likely to get Alzheimers


You might remember in recent years that the medical community announced an increase in heart attacks in women. With the sudden awareness of women and heart disease, doctors starting paying closer attention to this likelihood and began modifying diagnosis and treatment, which lowered the frequency of heart attacks in their patients. Well, now they are looking at Alzheimer's Disease in women. It seems that women are more likely to be diagnosed with the disease than men. In fact, statistically, women in their sixties are about twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's as breast cancer within her lifetime.

Not only are women more likely to suffer from the disease themselves but, in general, they are more likely to be affected by the disease as they are traditionally the caregivers of parents, siblings, spouses, etc. who suffer from the disease. Actually, women are 2.5 times more likely to provide the care for these individuals and 19 percent of them have to quit work to do so.

"Researchers are racing to figure out why. Women generally live longer than men, but mounting evidence suggests that longevity alone may not account for the unequal disease burden women face. It remains unclear whether women are truly at an increased risk for Alzheimer's. But studies have revealed that there may be distinct biological and genetic factors shaping how the disease develops and progresses in women. Understanding these differences will be of key importance in devising new, more effective strategies for treating, preventing and diagnosing Alzheimer's," as stated in Scientific American.

Currently, scientists are working on the correlation between hormones and Alzheimer's and are hoping to find a clue in how genetics and lifestyle factors contribute to the disease. Dr. Roberta Diaz Brinton and her colleagues are looking at the loss of estrogen in women in mid-life who carry a known risk gene for Alzheimer's disease, APOEe4, leads to more significant brain cell damage, specifically in the brain's white matter, compared to those who are not at this increased genetic risk.

Lifestyle factors are also being studied. Data reported by the Alzheimer's Association in 2015 showed that high school graduates had a 28 percent lower risk of developing dementia compared to those with only an elementary school education. Exercising the brain must be good for us in more ways than we know. And of course there is the correlation between stress and dementia. Women who have experienced more stress in their lives through events such as divorce, widowhood, work problems, or illness are more likely to develop dementia.

If you are interested in getting more involved, one way is to join the My Brain movement through the Alzheimer's Association. It was founded in 2010 and calls on a million women to help wipe out the disease by providing knowledge and tools to help women advocate for an increase in funding.

We have all been touched by this disease. Ask around, I bet you won't find one person who has not known someone with Alzheimer's Disease. This is why it must be obliterated.

Arteeni's mission is to promote American artisans and support our charity partners by donating a portion of each sale. For more information about the Alzheimer's Association or to select them as your designated cause, click here.

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