Risk of Alzheimer’s: Why Is It Higher for Women?

erase Alzheimer'sResearchers are at long last starting to get a handle on why the risk of Alzheimer’s is so much higher in females than in men. Currently, up to 2/3 of people with Alzheimer’s in the United States are female, and as researchers continue to better comprehend the specific nuances behind this pattern, we are able to begin to address them.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s Director of Scientific Engagement, Rebecca Edelmayer, “Women are at the epicenter of Alzheimer’s disease as both persons living with the disease and as caregivers of those with dementia. Over the last three years, the Alzheimer’s Association has invested $3.2 million into 14 projects looking at sex differences for the disease and some of the findings today may explain risk, prevalence, and rate of decline for women.”

The historic notion has been that females essentially have a greater than expected lifespan, and we realize that Alzheimer’s is more prevalent as people get older. Nonetheless, the theory has shifted to also include the following further determinants:

  • Biology. Vanderbilt University Medical Center scientists found that females with mild cognitive impairment had a more accelerated spread of tau (the protein within the brain connected to loss of brain cells), along with a higher extent of tau network connectivity, than that of males.
  • Memory. An investigation carried out by the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine discovered higher scores on verbal memory tests in women than men, which may bring about the potential of women’s brains to compensate for cognitive impairments and to the postponement of a medical diagnosis and subsequent treatment.
  • Employment. Memory decline in women ages 60 – 70 who seldom were employed was greater than in females with regular employment, according to the conclusions of a report conducted by the University of California Los Angeles – indicating that “consistent cognitive stimulation from work helps increase cognitive reserve in women.”
  • Lifestyle. Since a healthy lifestyle, particularly a reduced incidence of stress, helps decrease Alzheimer’s risk, women can be especially vulnerable – since they are typically in the role of family caregiver, a known inducer of stress.

Each one of these results focus on the need for women to take care of their own overall health, and Responsive Home Care, the top providers of home health Hollywood, FL and the surrounding area can find, is prepared to assist. We offer the dependable respite care that allows family caregivers to take much recommended breaks from caring for their loved ones while focusing on self-care. Our caregivers are specially trained and experienced in meeting the unique needs of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, giving loved ones the peace of mind in knowing their cherished older adults are getting the best care. Contact us at 954-486-6440 for more information.

New Research Finds Certain Common Medications Increase Dementia Risk

Research has connected certain medications commonly prescribed to an increase in dementia risk.

They’re currently understood to cause various short-term side effects, such as memory issues and confusion, but new research connects a number of the stronger anticholinergic drugs (such as those prescribed for Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, depression, and overactive bladder) to a markedly higher risk for dementia.

The study included two groups of seniors: 59,000 patients with dementia, and 225,000 without. About 57% of those with dementia, and 51% without, were provided at least one (and up to six) potent anticholinergic medications. Looking at other known dementia risk factors, the outcomes were an unexpected 50% greater chance of dementia in people who were taking strong anticholinergics daily for three or more years, with the greatest risk to men and women who received a dementia diagnosis before age 80.

It is worthwhile to note that there was no correlation observed between dementia and other kinds of anticholinergics (for example, antihistamines like Benadryl and GI medications).

While these findings do not prove anticholinergics as a cause for dementia, at the very least, “This study provides further evidence that doctors should be careful when prescribing certain drugs that have anticholinergic properties,” said Tom Dening, study co-author and head of Nottingham’s Center for Dementia. Dening also stressed that people currently prescribed these medications should not cease taking them suddenly, which can cause a great deal more harm.

The suggestion is for any person worried about this possible link to consult with his / her doctors to consider the advantages against any potential risks, and to investigate alternative means of treatment when possible. As an example, individuals taking medications for assistance with sleeping – something that has grown to be more and more common in older adults – can contemplate behavioral changes and a more therapeutic plan over insomnia medications.

And no matter what the medications a senior loved one takes, proper medication management is key – something that’s easier said than done with many seniors taking multiple medications in a variety of doses at differing times during the day. Responsive Home Care’s medication reminder services are perfect to be sure that older adults take the correct medications at the proper time – each and every time.

Our specially trained and experienced dementia care team is also readily available to provide unique, compassionate, effective care strategies to help minimize the challenging components of the disease, bringing about an increased quality of life for seniors and their loved ones. Call us at 954-486-6440 at any time to learn more.