Alzheimer’s Impact on Men Versus Women

Alzheimer’s Without knowing it, we label certain diseases as “male” or “female,” typically based on what organ or body part they affect. When it comes to conditions that fall under the dementia umbrella, such as Alzheimer’s Disease, we usually don’t perceive them as preferential to a specific gender. Recent research regarding Alzheimer’s Disease’s impact on men versus women may suggest otherwise.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “a woman’s estimated lifetime risk of developing Alzheimer’s at age 65 is 1 in 6, compared with nearly 1 in 11 for a man. 1” This data may shift the normal perception you have of Alzheimer’s being somewhat gender-blind. Speaking of gender preference and disease, a disease widely seen as predominately affecting women, breast cancer, is actually less likely than Alzheimer’s Disease for women in their 60’s1.

The Alzheimer’s association provides stifling statistics in their latest report, “2014 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures,” regarding the more than 5 million Americans living with this disease, which includes 3.2 million females2. According to Angela Geiger, Alzheimer’s Association chief strategy officer, “’Women are the epicenter of Alzheimer’s disease, representing [the] majority of both people with the disease and Alzheimer’s caregivers. 2”

Furthermore, “there are 2.5 times as many women than men providing intensive ‘on- duty’ care 24 hours for someone living with Alzheimer’s disease1” that includes geriatrics care professionals and home health nurses1. This care amounts to $214 billion per year in health care costs, which does not include the unpaid care provided by friends and family members who are not trained nurses or geriatric therapy professionals2.

Currently, Alzheimer’s Disease is No.6 on the list of causes for death in America and it is not predicted to go away anytime soon2. The Alzheimer’s Association predicts that “as many as 16 million Americans could have Alzheimer’s by 2050 at a cost of $1.2 trillion (in current dollars) to the nation.2

This information is not to say that we shouldn’t devote time and money to researching the effect that Alzheimer’s Disease has on geriatric men and how to care for them efficiently. As we learn more about the disease and how to care for both men and women who are affected, we will create better tomorrows for geriatric patients.

1Alzheimer’s Association (2014). Alzheimer’s News 3/19/2014. Retrieved May 15, 2014 from

2 (2014). Alzheimer’s Strikes Women Harder Than Men: Report. HealthDay. Retrieved May 15, 2014 from