Why Is Dementia Different for Women

Did you know dementia has been the leading cause of death for women since 2011? Yes, women are at a greater risk of developing dementia with time. In this blog, we will discuss the main reasons for this greater risk of dementia in women and the causes for its different nature in men and women.

Why Women are At Higher Risk?

Around twice as many women have dementia compared to men. The main reason for this risk is old age, the biggest risk factor, and women live longer than men. Therefore, they are at a higher risk of developing dementia. Different studies show different results; some suggest that women over 80 years of age are likely to have dementia, while some suggest that there is no difference in dementia risk in both men and women. So, it’s not really clear that women are more likely to have dementia than men of the same age. It seems that each sex has a different fusion of risk factors.

Why do Women have Different Dementia Risk Factors?

During their whole lifetime, women have different experiences than men, whether it is menstruation, pregnancies, menopause, or different rates of physical activities. Many of these factors have an effect on dementia risk.


The ApoE4 gene is the most common variant that causes a greater risk of dementia in women. It is the second biggest risk factor for dementia. Nearly two-thirds of people diagnosed with dementia have at least one copy of the ApoE4 gene. Although both men and women have this gene variant, the risk is higher in women. The reason for this is not clearly understood. However, it is important to know how future medication will affect different levels of effectiveness in men and women differently.

Brain Injury

Women have more dangerous long-term effects when it comes to awful brain surgery. Brain injury is another risk factor for dementia in women. Therefore, greater priority is given to preventing brain injury in women’s sports like rugby and football.

Dementia Risks with Menopause

Menopause is a state in women when the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone fall in women during late middle age. Oestrogen is considered to have protective effects on brain health and has the ability to block some harmful effects of substances involved in dementia. Therefore, researchers suggested that if a person has more levels of oestrogen, they are less likely to have dementia. For instance, if they start periods at an early age or start menopause later.

We know that Alzheimer’s- the main cause of dementia, starts developing 10-20 years before the main symptoms of dementia when many women are around the time of their menopause. However, surgical treatments for cancer cause early menopause, which again increases the risk of dementia in later years. Therefore, it is important to protect this brain-protecting hormone to lower the risk of dementia in women.

Hormone Replacement Therapy

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is the process where sex hormones estrogen and progesterone are commonly used as medicines to treat the symptoms of menopause, such as sleep problems, anxiety, and mental clarity. During the introductory days of HRT, it was assumed that the treatment might have serious health concerns in women at a later age, including dementia. But then, further studies found that HRT is the most efficient and safer method to reduce the long-term risks of dementia.

Gender Data for Dementia Research

It may surprise you that most clinical experiments use only male animals and recruit only male volunteers in human trials. The assumption besides this is that the reproductive cycle of female animals is more variable than that of male animals. The trial should include male and female animals to account for the variability between sexes. However, doing research in this way shows that we still have a poor understanding of the diseases causing dementia to work differently in women.

Future of Dementia Treatment

Researchers are committed to finding the therapy that will reduce the risks of dementia by 2025. Scientists must make sure that the new therapy works for both men and women, as 65% of people are affected by dementia, mostly women. The trials should be conducted on female and male animals to get the variability in the results.

Wrapping Up

Women are at a higher risk of having dementia at later stages of life, and the reason for this is still not clear. However, scientists believe that these are due to genetics and severe brain injuries, which have long-term effects. From clinical trials to pharmacy, it’s important that the new therapies work well for both men and women, including females in the trials, to improve the treatment of dementia and the lives of both men and women. Get connected to us to know more about how we can help you in this matter.


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