Women Are Hardest Hit by Alzheimer’s Disease, Association Says

A new initiative launched by the Alzheimer’s Association aims to bring together a million women to fight the disease, the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

Every 67 seconds someone in the United States develops  Alzheimer’s disease, and it’s taking a heavier toll on women than men, according to new information released by the Alzheimer’s Association last week.

The “2014 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures” [PDF] report found that women age 65 have a one in six chance of developing the disease, a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior. Meanwhile, men the same age have a one in 11 chance of developing the disease. Women in their 60s are also twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s than breast cancer over the rest of their lives.

Additionally, women are more likely to be caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. The report found that 2.5 times as many women as men are providing intensive, 24-hour care for someone living with the disease.

“Women are the epicenter of Alzheimer’s disease, representing [a] majority of both people with the disease and Alzheimer’s caregivers,” Angela Geiger, chief strategy officer at the Alzheimer’s Association, said in a statement.

Investments in breast cancer and other leading causes of death—such as heart disease, stroke, and HIV/AIDS—have resulted in substantial decreases in death, she added. “Comparable investments are now needed to realize the same success with Alzheimer’s in preventing and treating the disease.”

To help raise awareness of the disease’s impact on women, the association launched a national initiative calling on 1 million women to join in the fight against Alzheimer’s.

Inspired by “The Shriver Report,” a 2010 study conducted by journalist and activist Maria Shriver in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association to discover the links between women and the disease, the “My Brain” campaign provides resources for women to learn more about the disease and discover ways they can help end it.

Portals on the “My Brain” website, for example, direct users to the latest research on the disease, as well as places where women can sign up to participate in clinical trials, get involved in advocacy efforts, and join fundraising events.

(Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock)

Katie Bascuas

By Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. MORE

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