In today’s world, there are more health challenges than ever before. In addition, the new issues are also unique for each group based on age, ethnicity, and sex. For instance, Alzheimer’s disease is a bigger threat to women’s health even though it can also affect other people.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most prevalent of all other forms of dementia. All types of dementia neurodegenerative which means that they develop more and more with passing time.
According to previous research, Alzheimer’s disease has no definite reason. Studies only highlight specific factors which may increase the risk of this condition. At the moment, there is no treatment that is guaranteed to help with patients of this disease.
Therefore, most of the research present on it covers preventive methods and potential risk factors. Another thing that the research states is that Alzheimer’s seems to be more prevalent in women than in men.
Statistically, there are millions of people in the United States with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Around two-thirds of these happen to be women. However, the reason why women are more likely to have this condition than men remains unexplained.
Now, a team of researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore explores this gap in research. More specifically, they look as stress in midlife as a cause for Alzheimer’s later in the life of women. The findings of the study appear in the journal International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.
Conducting memory and cognitive tests to detect stress
Studies from the past show that stress has a huge impact on the functions of the human body. It can disrupt day to day functions and make a person unable to concentrate on daily tasks. In addition, having stress for longer periods of time can have long term effects.
More example, chronic stress can interfere with systems like digestion and interact with any drugs a person is taking. Secondly, it can also increase the risk of diseases in the future. In the new study, researchers look at Alzheimer’s from this very angle.
To see why women have a higher risk of a disease, they took data from the National Institute of Mental Health’s Epidemiologic Catchment Area. This study included data from nine hundred participants living in Baltimore starting from the 1980s.
In some of the interview of the study, the participants had to answer questions on stressful and traumatic events in their lives. The percentages of having both were almost equal in both men and women.
23% of the women and 22% of the men had a stressful whereas 50% of women and 47% of men experienced trauma. After having interviews, the participants also had to give different tests on memory and cognitive skill.
Alzheimer’s connection to women
In the tests following the interviews, the researchers saw that most of the women did not perform as well in memory tests. Therefore, they state that stress and Alzheimer’s disease later in life may only be a women-only relationship.
However, the type of relationship between the two requires further research. The researchers also noted there was no such effect in early age stress and midlife or in men. Right now, they suggest that everyone should learn to manage stress as it also has other harmful effects.