If you’re a woman, the odds are not in your favor, at least when it concerns the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s.
The numbers show that women are more likely than men to develop Alzheimer’s.
According to AARP, almost two-thirds of Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease are women. In fact, women in their 60s are actually twice as likely to develop Alzheimer‘s as breast cancer.
Researchers are trying to pinpoint why this is the case, and suspect that genetic differences and brain structure may be to blame.
“Studies presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2019 make clear that the brains of women are structured differently than men, and that in turn may impact risk of Alzheimer’s,” reports AARP.
But researchers did identify one hopeful lead that may result in preventing or delaying the disease.
They found that women who worked outside the home in early adulthood and middle age experienced a 60 percent slower memory decline than women who were not employed. They hypothesize that working stimulates the brain’s “cognitive reserve,” meaning it makes it work overtime, which may delay cognitive decline.
The Takeaway: The origins and effective treatment for Alzheimer’s are still a mystery. But recent research should encourage women in middle age and beyond to stay engaged in work and social activities. That could help their finances, as well as keep their brain healthy for years to come.