A new report from the Alzheimer’s Association says that women aged 60 or older have a one in six chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The report also notes that women in that age group are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s than breast cancer.
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The report highlights the role age plays in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. But another important factor is gender: according to the Alzheimer’s Association, men have only a one in eleven chance of getting Alzheimer’s.
It’s estimated that about five million Americans are currently fighting Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common form of dementia. The disease, which was discovered by and named after German psychiatrist Alois Alzheimer in 1906, is most common in people over the age of 65. There is no known cure for the disease, which affects approximately 27 million people worldwide.
The new Alzheimer’s Association report shows just how much Alzheimer’s affects women. Not only are they twice as likely to develop the disease, but they’re also most likely to care for someone suffering from Alzheimer’s. It’s estimated that sixty per cent of all Alzheimer’s caregivers are women, who are expected to feed, clothe, even diaper their patients.
The cost of treating Alzheimer’s disease is huge — about $214 billion each year — but rarely does that cost involve expensive treatments. Instead, most of that money goes towards round-the-clock care.
“We wish we had expensive treatments to brag about, but we don’t, so it’s important to highlight that research funding and research commitments are critical for us to change that balance,” noted Alzheimer’s Association executive Maria Carrillo.
Carrillo says the goal of this most recent report is to increase public attention when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s Association is looking for 1 million women to visit its website and explain how they plan to use their brains to stop the deadly disease.