Alzheimer’s disease affects many more women age 65 and older than men of that age, a new report suggests.
Wednesday’s report from the Alzheimer’s Association in the U.S. estimates a woman’s lifetime risk of developing Alzheimer's at age 65 is 1 in 6 or 17 per cent compared with nearly 1 in 11 or nine per cent for a man.
The differences in lifetime risk between women and men are mainly due to women’s longer life expectancy. Age is considered the greatest risk factor for the mind-robbing disease.
"Alzheimer’s disease takes a stronger toll on women than men," the report’s authors conclude. "More women than men develop the disease, and women are more likely than men to be informal caregivers for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia."
Alzheimer's disease is still largely misunderstood by the public, said Angela Geiger, the association’s chief strategy officer, based on the group’s poll findings. Everyone, male or female, family history or not, is at risk.
The impact of Alzheimer's is expected to increase as baby boomers age.
The National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, formerly the American Association of Retired Persons, said more than half of unpaid caregivers — usually immediate family members — said they provide help with getting in and out of bed and one-third offer help with bathing, feeding, getting to and from the toilet and managing incontinence.
In 2011, 747, 000 Canadians were living with Alzheimer’s or related dementias, according to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. In 2031, 1.4 million Canadians are expected to have the disease.