Understanding dementia risk and how the disease affects each individual is complex. However, we do know that more women are affected by dementia than men. Worldwide, women with dementia outnumber men 2 to 1. Studying the different impact of dementia on women versus men can help researchers uncover causes and develop new treatments. Read on to learn about why the disease is more prevalent and how to recognize early warning signs of dementia in women.
Why is dementia more common for women?
As people age, the risk of developing dementia increases. On average, women live longer than men, and are therefore more at risk. The onset of dementia usually happens after the age of 65. Both women and men can develop dementia in their 40s and 50s too, but this is far less common.
Additionally, brain scans show that the rate at which brain cells are dying in the brain is faster in women than in men, making them more vulnerable to memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers are also exploring possible links between the female hormone estrogen and dementia risk, although further study is needed.
What are the early signs of dementia in a woman?
Forgetting things from time to time is a normal part of aging. The major difference with dementia is that your memory gets significantly worse over time, and you experience cognitive decline. You’re likely to forget who people are, and struggle with verbal memory skills.
Dementia is a broad term. There are many different types of dementia, and each type can have different early warning signs. Early signs of dementia in women may include:
- Changes to memory
- Difficulty concentrating during conversations or daily activities
- Finding familiar tasks challenging
- Slower thoughts
- Struggling to think of the right word in conversation
- Dramatic mood swings
- Difficulties making plans
- Getting lost easily, even in familiar locations
- Confusion about time
- Changes in behavior, such as trouble sleeping or acting impulsively
- Changes in language skills such as speaking slower or using the wrong words in conversation
- Feeling easily distracted
What to do if you notice early signs of dementia in women?
If you’re worried about any dementia-like symptoms, it is best to speak to a healthcare professional as soon as possible. Your doctor will be able to offer reassurance and help you get an accurate diagnosis based on what you’re experiencing.
Living a healthy lifestyle can help prevent early signs of dementia and manage symptoms. Regular physical activity such as walking and aerobics, and hobbies that keep the mind active like crossword puzzles may help slow down the progression of dementia symptoms.
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