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Women disproportionately affected by Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Association 10 Warning Signs Help Ensure Early Detection and Diagnosis

Women are at the epicenter of Alzheimer’s disease. According to the 2019 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, which was released recently, nearly two-thirds of the more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease are women. Additionally, women in their 60s are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s over the rest of their lives as they are to develop breast cancer. Not only are women more likely than men to develop the disease, they are also more likely to be caregivers. More than 60 percent of Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers are women. In the United States alone, about 13 million women are either living with Alzheimer’s or caring for someone who has it. As the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research, the Alzheimer’s Association is committed to raising awareness of this fatal brain disease and its warning signs:

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life.
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems.
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure.
  4. Confusion with time or place.
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing.
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.
  8. Decreased or poor judgment.
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities.
  10. Changes in mood and personality.

There are a number of potential biological and social reasons why more women than men have Alzheimer’s or other dementias. The prevailing view has been that this discrepancy is due to the fact that women live longer than men on average, and older age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s. Researchers are now questioning whether the risk of Alzheimer’s could actually be higher for women at any given age due to biological or genetic variations or differences in life experiences.

For more information about women and Alzheimer’s disease, visit

About the Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter:

The Alzheimer’s Association® is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s research, care and support. Its mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. The Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter covers an 87-county area with offices in Chicago, Joliet, Rockford, Springfield, Bloomington, Peoria, Quincy and Carbondale. Since 1980, the Chapter has provided reliable information and care consultation; created supportive services for families; increased funding for dementia research; and influenced public policy changes. The Illinois Chapter serves more than half a million Illinois residents affected by Alzheimer’s disease, including more than 220,000 Illinois residents living with the disease. Its vision is a world without Alzheimer’s®. For more information visit illinois or call the free 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.

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