Alzheimer’s Gender Disparity: Themes and Unknown Areas

February 08, 2022
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In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some basics on the gender disparity that’s been observed for Alzheimer’s disease between men and women. Roughly two-thirds of all Americans currently dealing with Alzheimer’s are women, and while some of the reasons for this are understood, continuing research is also aimed at further understanding this phenomenon and helping counter it.

At AGA Clinical Trials, we’re proud to offer a variety of enrolling clinical trials, including several Alzheimer’s disease studies that look to learn more about these and related concerns. Today’s part two of our series will look at a few other reasons why women are at higher risk than men for this condition, plus identify a few areas where more research is needed — areas where clinical trials play a major role.

Alzheimer’s gender disparity themesWomen Exercise Less Than Men

Lower levels of exercise are linked with higher risks of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, and women seem to be less likely than men to exercise. Some research suggests this activity gap may come from a combination of factors, including everything from attitudes about exercise to physical limitations.

Only part of these gaps can be explained by gender differences in parenting roles, however. Dietary patterns may be different as well. Men are more likely to eat foods like fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids (and linked with healthy brain function), while women are more likely to eat foods high in saturated fats.

Decline Following Diagnosis

In addition to all the other factors we’ve gone over here, there’s another element at play: Women are more likely than men to perform well on various tests involved in diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease, meaning they will often be diagnosed simply with mild cognitive impairment, or even sometimes no impairment at all.

This means that women are often delayed in being fully diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. This is a concern because it means that even as they’re being diagnosed with the condition, women are often already well into its progression.

Areas That Need Further Research

There are several areas of Alzheimer’s disease gender disparity, treatments and other elements that we still need more information on. These include:

  • Relationship of gender disparity to differences in longevity and chronic diseases
  • Impact of things like menopause or pregnancy, which only impact women
  • Relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and other common health problems, like cardiovascular disease or diabetes
  • Lifestyle differences that may have an impact on the condition
  • Role of estrogen in protecting women against the condition, which has been suggested by some studies

There are several others here — and the presence of ongoing clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia play a major role in helping generate more robust information in these areas.

For more on these trials, or to learn about any of our clinical studies, speak to the staff at AGA Clinical Trials today.

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