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Dementia in Elderly Women: A Silent Crisis

By Lifestyle Desk | Last Updated: March 14, 2024

Introduction

Dementia, a condition characterized by declining memory, cognitive skills, and reasoning abilities, remains a silent crisis among elderly women. Despite its prevalence, it often goes undiagnosed until it reaches an advanced stage.

The Disproportionate Impact on Women

Did you know that dementia affects women disproportionately? As per the Alzheimer’s Research group in the UK, women above 60 years face twice the risk of developing dementia compared to breast cancer. Out of 850,000 dementia patients in the UK, over 500,000 are women. The risk escalates every five years after the age of 65.

Contributing Factors

Several factors contribute to this increased risk in women:

  • Longevity: Women tend to live longer than men, exposing them to dementia during their elderly years.
  • Physical Health: Hormonal changes (such as estrogen levels), blood pressure fluctuations, and physical activity play a role.
  • Caregiver Role: In low and middle-income countries, female caregivers (both professional and family) constitute around 90% of dementia caregivers. Their isolation and lack of support contribute to cognitive decline.

Brain Health and Prevention

While there is no cure for dementia, lifestyle modifications can reduce the risk:

  • Healthy Diet: A balanced diet rich in fiber, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein supports brain health.
  • Regular Exercise: Aim for 30 minutes of walking at least five times a week to improve blood circulation and prevent cognitive impairment.
  • Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy body weight, especially post-pregnancy, reduces the chances of developing dementia.
  • Avoid Substances: Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption negatively impact brain health.
  • Prioritize Sleep: Chronic sleep deprivation increases the risk of dementia and other illnesses. Strive for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night.

Let's raise awareness about dementia in women and empower them to prioritize brain health.

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