Report Says Women Twice As Likely To Develop Alzheimer's As Breast Cancer

Thursday, March 20, 2014

According to the Alzheimer's Association 2014 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures report released Wednesday, a woman’s estimated lifetime risk of developing Alzheimer’s at age 65 is 1 in 6, compared with nearly 1 in 11 for a man. 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 over the rest of their lives as they are to develop breast cancer, the report said.*

“We have known that women are the epicenter of Alzheimer’s disease – making up the majority of both people living with the disease and caregivers,” says Amy French, manager of programs and education. 

There are 2.5 times as many women than men providing intensive “on-duty” care 24 hours for someone living with Alzheimer’s disease. Among caregivers who feel isolated, women are much more likely than men to link isolation with feeling depressed (17 percent of women versus 2 percent of men).

The report said the strain of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s is also felt in the workplace. Among caregivers who have been employed while they were also caregiving: 

 20 percent of women versus 3 percent of men went from working full-time to working part-time while acting as a caregiver.

18 percent of women versus 11 percent of men took a leave of absence

11 percent of women versus 5 percent of men gave up work entirely

10 percent of women versus 5 percent of men lost job benefits

There are more than five million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, including 110,000 in Tennessee, but Alzheimer’s has far reaching effects that can plague entire families, according to the report. There are 418,000 Alzheimer’s caregivers in Tennessee providing 476 million hours of unpaid care valued at more than $5 million.

The total national cost of caring for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias is projected to reach $214 billion this year. In 2014, the cost to Medicare and Medicaid of caring for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias will reach a combined $150 billion with Medicare spending nearly $1 in every $5 on people with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. 

These numbers are set to soar as the baby boomers continue to enter the age of greatest risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Unless something is done to change the course of the disease, there could be as many as 16 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s in 2050, at a cost of $1.2 trillion (in current dollars) to the nation. This dramatic rise includes a 500 percent increase in combined Medicare and Medicaid spending and a 400 percent increase in out-of-pocket spending. The country’s first-ever National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease has a goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer’s disease by 2025. Ensuring strong implementation of the National Alzheimer’s Plan, including adequately funding Alzheimer’s research, is the best way to avoid these staging human and financial tolls, according to the report.

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, yet it is still widely misunderstood and underreported. Nearly a quarter (24 percent) of both men and women agree with the mistaken belief that Alzheimer’s must run in their family for them to be at risk. When looking at certain ethnic groups, these numbers were even higher. A third of Latinos (33 percent) and almost half of Asians (45 percent) agreed with that incorrect statement. 

Realizing the impact Alzheimer’s has on women – and the impact women can have when they work together – the Alzheimer’s Association is launching a national initiative this spring highlighting the power of women in the fight against this disease. 

The full text of the Alzheimer's Association Facts and Figures can be viewed at www.alz.org. The full report will also appear in the March issue of Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association (Volume 10, Issue 2).



Sportsbarn Hosts Triathlon Benefitting Local Families Trough First Things First

Area athletes are invited to test their physical strength at the 18th Annual Sportsbarn Sprint Triathlon on Sunday, Aug. 10.  The event starts at the Chickamauga Dam where competitors will swim, ride, run or even paddleboard to downtown Chattanooga.     Each year, more than 700 participants and spectators turn out for the sprint triathlon presented by the Sportsbarn. ... (click for more)

Health Department Issues Poliio Vaccination Guidance

The Tennessee Department of Health, in alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is issuing polio vaccination guidance for individuals planning travel to and from 10 countries where wild poliovirus, or WPV, is currently known to be a threat. Those countries include:  Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Iraq, Israel, Somalia ... (click for more)

EPB Says It Did Not Overbill The City; Says City Got $685,877 Break

EPB officials said Tuesday that an exhaustive audit of its street light contract with the city showed that it did not overbill the city. Instead, it said it found that the city was underbilled $685,877. EPB said it only goes back one year on errors so the amount owed by the city would be $178,314. Officials said that would be discussed with the city. Stan Sewell, the city's ... (click for more)

Citizens To Comment Next Tuesday On Sound Control Ordinance That Allows Higher Sound Around Downtown Clubs

Citizens will be allowed to comment next Tuesday on a new Sound Control Ordinance that allows higher sound from nightclubs in a downtown Controlled Sound Boundary. Track 29 behind the Chattanooga Choo Choo, that has drawn the wrath of some nearby Southside residents, is within the boundary, which goes along the river on the north and west, to around Erlanger Hospital on the ... (click for more)

I'm Number One In A Round About Way

Roundabouts have been popping up all over Chattanooga over the past few years and for the most part have been successful.  Unfortunately there are some who just don’t get it as I have found out the hard way.    My latest instance was last week when a young woman on her cell phone almost t-boned me as she flew into the roundabout without yielding.  A near miss ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Oscar Brock’s True Passion

I don’t pay much attention to the Hamilton County School Board. Once the moon and the stars aligned behind Superintendent Rick Smith, you hear very little, if anything, from the nine-member council that oversees an annual budget of almost $400 million and employs 4,480 people. So chew this for a minute: approximately 2,000 of those people are not teachers. Yes, there are 78 principals ... (click for more)