Wednesday 25 April 2018

Women are far more likely to get dementia than men

The Alzheimer Society of Ireland said it was time for in-depth research to be done on the Irish experience of dementia
The Alzheimer Society of Ireland said it was time for in-depth research to be done on the Irish experience of dementia
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

IRISH women are much more likely to get dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, than men - with almost twice as many female sufferers than male.

There are 30,359 Irish women living with dementia compared with 17,385 men.

The Alzheimer Society of Ireland said it was time for in-depth research to be done on the Irish experience of dementia.

Studies in Britain have revealed the condition has not only become the leading cause of death among British women, but that women are far more likely to end up as carers of people with dementia than men - experiencing physical and emotional stress and job losses in the process.

Gerry Martin, chief executive of The Alzheimer Society of Ireland, said: "The prevalence figures in Ireland are startling with much higher rates of dementia among women.

"We desperately need further research and increased analysis on the gendered nature of dementia so we can plan targeted campaigns for women to increase their understanding of risk, assessment and available resources.

"We already know that far more Irish women than men provide care for people with dementia who are in desperate need of more interventions and supports, both financial and psychosocial."

Risk

Dementia has become increasingly common, partly because more people, particularly women, are living longer. Age is a major risk factor for the condition, and so it is now more prevalent.

"Major investments in heart disease and cancer research in recent years have helped bring down death rates for these conditions and have had a real impact. We need to do the same for dementia. Only through research can we find ways to treat and prevent dementia, and transform the lives of the thousands affected," said Mr Martin.

It comes as scientists have found a potential way to stop the progression of Alzheimer's disease, raising the prospect of new treatments for the condition.

A team at Cambridge University, working with partners in Sweden and Estonia, has identified a molecule that can block Alzheimer's at a crucial stage in its development.

It is the first time a means of breaking the cycle in the development of Alzheimer's has been identified. Symptoms include memory loss and a slowing in thinking speed. It usually affects the over-65s.

Irish Independent

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