Why Alzheimer’s Affects Women Differently Than Men

Nov 16 • 2015

In 2015 alone, more than five million Americans will have Alzheimer’s disease. What many people don’t realize is that almost two-thirds of the people living with this disease are women. Additionally, a report from the Alzheimer’s Association noted that one in six women in their 60s has a chance of developing Alzheimer’s, compared to 1 in 11 men.

One of the more common reasons given for an increased diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease in women is because on average, women tend to live longer than men. Because the risk of developing Alzheimer’s increases with age, it makes sense that people who live longer would be more likely to experience this disease at some point during their lifetime.

However, this is not the only reason men and women are impacted differently by Alzheimer’s. Women are also seen to have different behavioral changes than men, such as less aggression towards physicians and caregivers. Additionally, women are less likely to act out any aggression they may be feeling in a violent way.

Outside of the disease itself, Alzheimer’s impacts the lives of women in another way – caregiving. It is estimated that between 60 and 70% of Alzheimer’s caregivers are women. Female caregivers are also noted to be more apt to ask for help from support groups, affiliated physicians, or other family members.

Despite the differences between genders, it is important to remember that both men and women have many of the same fears when it comes to Alzheimer’s, including how it will impact their daily lives, whether they will become a burden on their loved ones, and how quickly the disease will progress. Being proactive in addressing these concerns can help ease some of the pain that may come with diagnosis.

If you or a loved one are struggling with Alzheimer’s disease, speak with your doctor or a local support facility to find the resources you need.