Women are at the ‘epicenter of Alzheimer’s disease,’ says new report

Women are at a much higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease than men, and the condition poses an even greater risk for elderly women than breast cancer, a new report finds.

According to the latest Alzheimer’s Association 2014 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, women have a 1 in 6 estimated lifetime risk of developing the disease at age 65, while the risk for men is nearly 1 in 11. Additionally, women in their 60s are about twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s as they are to develop breast cancer.

These differences in gender are further reflected by the fact that there are 2.5 times as many women than men providing 24-hour care for someone living with Alzheimer’s.

Acting as an “on-duty” caregiver for someone living with Alzheimer’s creates a strain that leads to feelings of isolation and depression, as well as the need to take a leave of absence or give up working entirely. While performing caregiving duties, 20 percent of women went from working full-time to working part-time, compared to 3 percent of men.

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