The Medical Minute: The latest news on Alzheimer’s disease

There are 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, two-thirds of which are estimated to be women.

Claire Flaherty-Craig, a neuropsychologist at Penn State Hershey Neuroscience Institute, said one of the main reasons the rate of occurrence is higher in women is they tend to have a longer lifespan than men.

“The disease develops with aging so there are actually more women who manifest the disease because they are living longer,” she said.

The number of Alzheimer’s cases is expected to more than triple by the year 2050. Flaherty-Craig said that as the baby boomers — a large percentage of the population — begin to age, more of them are going to develop the disease.

But age is only one of the risk factors.

Unhealthy habits are another. Lack of physical exercise and poor diet can lead to cardiovascular disease, which can affect brain health.

Stress is another risk factor. It can weaken the brain’s resiliency over time.

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