Exploring Gender Differences in the Effects of Alzheimer’s Disease

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One thing many people don’t understand about Alzheimer’s disease is the different ways in which it affects men and women. Because two-thirds of Americans living with Alzheimer’s are women, it’s important for family members to understand how to adjust care based on specific gender needs. Below is some information on Alzheimer’s and how men and women experience this degenerative disease in different ways.

Females Are More Susceptible to Alzheimer’s

On average, a woman’s life expectancy is 81, while men are expected to live to 76. Therefore, women with Alzheimer’s disease are living longer than men with the disease, which partially explains the higher number of females affected. Research has shown that the APOE4 gene, which is a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, may affect women differently than men. In a study published in the journal Neurology, researchers found that women with the APOE4 gene were more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than men with the same gene.

Different Genders Have Different Symptoms

While each individual, regardless of sex, will exhibit different symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s, disparities between men and women are much more evident. While women are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, men with the disease tend to have more severe symptoms. 

A study published in the journal JAMA Neurology found men with Alzheimer’s disease have faster cognitive decline than women with the disease. Researchers speculate this may be due to differences in brain structure and function between men and women. Men tend to have larger brains than women, but they may also have more severe brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Seniors living with Alzheimer’s disease can benefit from professional in-home care. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care service families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Women with Alzheimer’s Disease May Have a Higher Quality of Life

Research suggests women may be better at living with Alzheimer’s disease than men. A study published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia found women with Alzheimer’s disease had a higher quality of life and were less likely to be depressed than men with the disease. This may be due to differences in social support between men and women. Women tend to have larger social networks than men, which may provide them with more emotional support and help them handle the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease can affect your loved one’s ability to perform daily tasks independently, and you may need to hire a professional caregiver to help. There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional elderly home care. Philadelphia families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place.

Behavioral Changes Are More Likely in Men

Men with Alzheimer’s disease may be more likely to experience behavioral changes. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, men with Alzheimer’s disease are more likely to become aggressive or agitated than women with the disease. Alzheimer’s researchers suggest this may be due to gender-based differences in brain chemistry. Men tend to have higher levels of testosterone, which may contribute to more aggressive behavior.

Women May Benefit More from Social & Cognitive Stimulation

Research has shown that both social and cognitive stimulation can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. However, women may benefit more from these types of interventions than men.

The results of a study published in Neurology showed women with Alzheimer’s disease who engaged in cognitive and social activities had slower cognitive decline than men with the disease who participated in the same activities. This may be because of the differences between men’s and women’s brain structures. Women tend to have better communication between the two sides of their brains, which may help them benefit more from social and cognitive stimulation.

If your elderly loved one is living with Alzheimer’s and needs help managing the symptoms, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Alzheimer’s care. Philadelphia seniors can rely on our revolutionary Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program that promotes cognitive health and delays the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. CTM also encourages seniors to engage with others in an enjoyable way and helps them build new routines to look forward to. If you need professional home care for your loved one, reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (215) 645-4663.


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