-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
MONDAY, July 18 (HealthDay News) -- Women fear Alzheimer's
disease more than any other illness except cancer, and they are
more often on the front lines of providing care for loved ones
battling the disease, new research shows.
"With statistics consistently pointing to the fact that more women are living with Alzheimer's and caring for people with Alzheimer's, it is clear women are disproportionately affected by this disease," said Angela Geiger, chief strategy officer of the Alzheimer's Association.
A survey of women in France, Germany, Spain, Poland and the
United States revealed that women are at the center of the global
Alzheimer's epidemic. The multinational research team found women
in all five countries were more concerned than men about a loved
one developing the disease.
Women in all countries, the survey also found, were more likely
than men to be involved in the daily care of someone with the
disease. In fact, women in France and Poland were significantly
more involved in the decision-making and financial support of an
If roles were reversed and those polled were to develop the
disease, most identified their spouse as the person who would be
responsible for their primary care. Men, however, identified their
wives 6 percent to 18 percent more often than wives identified
their husbands. In contrast, women were more likely to say they
would rely on their children or paid caregivers outside the family
to care for them.
Despite their fear of the disease, which currently affects 36.5
million people worldwide, and their greater burden as caregivers,
71 percent of women in France and 76 percent of women in the United
States seem to be more optimistic that a treatment for Alzheimer's
will be developed within five years. That may be one reason why the
survey also showed that women believe government spending on
Alzheimer's research should be increased.
"These insights reinforce the conclusions published in
The Shriver Report: A Women's Nation Takes on Alzheimer's, which found the impact of Alzheimer's on women is significant. The perspectives we see in this survey must prompt thoughtful conversations about Alzheimer's with our friends, family members and government officials to change the trajectory of Alzheimer's disease," concluded Geiger.
The research was slated for presentation Monday at the
Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Paris. Research
presented at medical meetings should be viewed a preliminary until
it is published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides
more facts and statistics on
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