Alzheimer’s disease is fatal. Of the more than 6 million Americans of all ages living with Alzheimer’s dementia, the majority are women.
Almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s are women. Of the more than 6 million people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s in the United States, 3.8 million are women.
A woman’s estimated lifetime risk of developing Alzheimer’s at age 65 is 1 in 5. As real a concern as breast cancer is to women’s health, women in their 60s are about twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s during the rest of their lives as they are to develop breast cancer.
There are a number of potential biological and social reasons why more women than men have Alzheimer’s or other dementias. The prevailing view has been that this discrepancy is due to the fact that women live longer than men on average, and older age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s. Researchers are now questioning whether the risk of Alzheimer’s could actually be higher for women at any given age due to biological or genetic variations or differences in life experiences.