Why are women more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease?

senior woman assembling a jigsaw puzzle where all the pieces are blank white

Do you know that of the 6.2 million individuals with Alzheimer’s illness who’re age 65 or older on this nation, virtually two-thirds are ladies? Because of this Alzheimer’s illness is nearly twice as frequent in ladies in comparison with males. Why is Alzheimer’s illness extra frequent in ladies?

Girls reside longer

The primary and most vital purpose is that ladies are inclined to reside longer than males. If you happen to have a look at actuarial life tables, you’ll be able to see {that a} child woman born in 2019 is prone to reside 5 years longer than a child boy: 81 versus 76 years.

The best threat issue for Alzheimer’s illness is age: the older you’re, the extra possible you’re to develop Alzheimer’s illness. For instance, out of 1,000 individuals, the incidence (the quantity who develop Alzheimer’s annually) depends upon age:

  • 4 out of 1,000 individuals ages 65 to 74 develop Alzheimer’s annually
  • 32 out of 1,000 individuals ages 75 to 84 develop Alzheimer’s annually
  • 76 out of 1,000 individuals ages 85 and older develop Alzheimer’s annually.

So, one purpose that there are extra ladies with Alzheimer’s illness than males is just that there are extra older ladies than older males dwelling in our society — 5.7 million extra of them — and the older you’re, the extra possible you’re to develop Alzheimer’s illness.

However that’s not the entire reply.

The incidence of Alzheimer’s is larger in ladies

Your probabilities of growing Alzheimer’s illness late in life are considerably higher if you’re a lady than a person. One examine adopted 16,926 individuals in Sweden and located that, starting round age 80, ladies have been extra prone to be recognized with Alzheimer’s illness than males of the identical age. Equally, a examine based mostly in Taiwan discovered that one’s probabilities of growing Alzheimer’s illness over seven years was higher in ladies in comparison with males. And a meta-analysis analyzing the incidence of Alzheimer’s illness in Europe discovered that roughly 13 ladies out of 1,000 developed Alzheimer’s annually, in comparison with solely seven males.

So, ladies dwelling longer than males can’t be the entire reply as to why ladies are extra possible than males to develop Alzheimer’s illness, as a result of even amongst people who’re dwelling and the identical age, ladies usually tend to be recognized with Alzheimer’s than males.

The incidence of non-Alzheimer’s dementia just isn’t higher in ladies

One clue to the reply to this puzzle is that your probabilities of growing dementia from a trigger different than Alzheimer’s illness just isn’t higher if you’re a lady. For instance, the examine analyzing dementia charges in Sweden discovered that each ladies and men have been equally prone to develop a non-Alzheimer’s dementia as they aged. That charges of Alzheimer’s illness differ by gender, whereas charges of non-Alzheimer’s dementias don’t, means that there should be a particular interplay between Alzheimer’s illness and gender.

Amyloid deposition in Alzheimer’s could also be combating infections

One other clue to this puzzle comes from the work of Harvard researchers, who’ve steered that amyloid, one part of Alzheimer’s illness pathology, could also be deposited so as to struggle off infections within the mind. If their suggestion seems to be appropriate, we would consider Alzheimer’s illness as a byproduct of our mind’s immune system.

Autoimmune problems are extra frequent in ladies

The final piece of the puzzle is that ladies are about twice as prone to have an autoimmune illness in comparison with males. The rationale for this distinction just isn’t fully clear, however it’s clear that the immune system is usually stronger in ladies than males, and lots of autoimmune illnesses are extra frequent throughout being pregnant. It might be that ladies’s stronger immune system developed via evolution to guard the fetus from infections. So, as a part of their stronger immune programs, ladies might find yourself having extra amyloid plaques than males.

Placing the items collectively

By combining all of this data, one doable clarification as to why ladies’s threat of Alzheimer’s illness is larger than males’s — along with ladies dwelling longer — is:

  • The amyloid plaques that trigger Alzheimer’s illness might be a part of the mind’s immune system to struggle towards infections.
  • Girls have stronger immune programs than males.
  • As a part of their stronger immune programs, ladies might find yourself having extra amyloid plaques than males.
  • As a result of they might have extra amyloid plaques than males, this concept might clarify why ladies find yourself having a higher threat of growing Alzheimer’s illness.

Please observe the italicized phrases “might” that I’ve used. Though the concepts I’ve introduced listed below are logical, coherent, and kind the premise of concept, they haven’t but been confirmed to be appropriate. Extra analysis is required!

The underside line

You usually tend to develop Alzheimer’s illness over your lifetime if you’re a lady, as a result of ladies reside longer than males and, presumably, as a result of ladies have stronger immune programs in comparison with males.

Does that imply that if you happen to’re a lady, you’re extra prone to develop Alzheimer’s illness and there’s nothing you are able to do about it? By no means! You are able to do many issues to cut back your threat of Alzheimer’s right now.

  • Interact in cardio train reminiscent of brisk strolling, jogging, biking, swimming, or cardio lessons no less than half-hour per day, 5 days per week.
  • Eat a Mediterranean menu of meals together with fish, olive oil, avocados, fruits, greens, nuts, beans, entire grains, and poultry. Eat different meals sparingly.
  • Sleep properly — and clear these Alzheimer’s plaques out of your mind.
  • Take part in social actions and novel, cognitively stimulating actions.

Commenting has been closed for this publish.

Leave a Reply