Understanding why Dementia has a bigger impact on women
by Antonella Cachia, Marketing Executive, 6PM Group
Dementia is a condition that takes away so much of people’s life, with a bigger impact on women than on men. According to a report by Alzheimer’s Research UK, dementia affects over 850,000 people in the UK and 44 million worldwide. It is estimated that 61% (500,000) of people with dementia are women and 39% are men. This is likely to reflect the fact that women live longer than men. Several thousand women celebrate their 100th birthday each year in the UK.
Are there any other factors that lead to these figures?
While age is the biggest known risk factor for the condition, scientists are now questioning this assumption. What else may put women at extra risk? Could it be genetics? Biological differences in how women age? Maybe even lifestyle factors? The tricky part is determining how much of the disparity is due to women’s longevity or other factors. Some argue that although it is true that age is the greatest risk factor, because on average women live four or five years longer than men, however the disease starts up to 20 years before the diagnosis. There is also some evidence of brain scans that show that once a woman is diagnosed, they may worsen faster than men.
Obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, hormones, and menopause may all have an input, although what drives this difference in figures is not clear, research is ongoing.
Caring for someone with dementia or Women as carers
Not only are women more likely to have Alzheimer’s disease or any other form of dementia, but women are more likely to be caregivers of those with dementia. Generally, these provide support on an unpaid basis, and it can be mentally and physically exhausting task. Most of these carers do not plan to take on this role but have developed it out of necessity to take care of others when independence deteriorates. According to Alzheimer’s Research UK statistics report, 60 – 70% of carers for people with dementia are women.
Women who work and care for someone with dementia face the significant and very real possibility of negative impacts to their career. They may not be in a position to choose between their work and caring responsibilities, and so are forced to do both simultaneously. 19% out of which had to quit their work to dedicate time for care.
It’s time to defeat dementia
Dementia has a disproportionate impact on the lives of women, both for their likelihood of developing dementia, and as carers of someone with dementia. Dementia is the most feared condition for people over the age of 55, more than any other major life-threatening disease, including cancer, stroke, heart disease and diabetes. The condition is the biggest killer of women in the UK. The effects of dementia are devastating for both patients and carers and we must act now!
We all would like to live in a scenario where the research being done now can mean that we will have a future without dementia or a future where there are actually advances in the medical sphere that can help slow this disease.
Scientists and researchers are working tirelessly; they are making progress but they are always looking to identify patients and carers that match a clinical trial’s participation criteria to participate in research projects.
In conjunction with West London Mental Health (WLMHT), 6PM, have developed software that has the necessary tools to manage consent and easily identify eligible participants for clinical trials. For more information about ConCERT-D™, the clinical dementia solution visit https://health.idoxgroup.com/products/clinical/concert-d