DEMENTIA IN MEN VS WOMEN
Written by Salmon Health
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia.
Some key warning signs that point to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis include:
Memory Problems. Forgetting recently-learned information or important dates or events. Having to ask for the same information over and over and needing to rely on reminder notes or family members for things that used to be handled with ease.
Completing Familiar Tasks. Routine daily tasks become more and more of a challenge, such as driving to familiar locations, managing a budget or remembering the rules of a favorite game.
Trouble Making a Plan. Changes in ability to develop and follow a plan like following a recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. Tasks may take much longer to do than they did formerly or it may be difficult to concentrate on the task at hand.
Confusion Concerning Time or Place. Those with Alzheimer’s can lose track of dates, seasons, or the passage of time. Sometimes they may be confused about where they are or how they got there.
Visual Images and Spatial Relationships. Difficulty reading, judging distances, and determining color or contrast can affect those with Alzheimer’s and can cause real problems with driving.
Problems with Words when Speaking or Writing. Those with Alzheimer’s may stop in the middle of a conversation with no idea how to continue. They may repeat themselves or struggle with finding the right word.
Losing the Ability to Retrace Steps. They may no longer have the ability to go back over steps to find lost articles. They may accuse others of stealing.
Poor Judgement. When dealing with money, they may no longer be able to make good decisions. They may pay less attention to grooming or personal hygiene.
Withdrawal from Social Activities. They may remove themselves from social interactions or hobbies. They may have difficulty keeping up with favorite sports teams.
Changes in Mood and Personality. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful, or anxious. They can be easily upset or become upset when their routine is disrupted.
All of these warning signs are not necessarily present in all persons who have Alzheimer’s. New research suggests that Alzheimer’s disease affects women and men differently. In fact, it is now known that Alzheimer’s disease affects women more severely than it does men.
While it is true that the majority of symptoms and signs of dementia are seen in both genders, according to research, some differences can be more prevalent in one or the other and the rate and degree to which certain symptoms develop may be different.
Women with Alzheimer’s disease can experience a decline in their cognitive abilities more dramatically than men at the same stage of the disease. Language skills and memory are also impacted sooner in women than in men.
What to look for:
Progression of Symptoms: A study found that once the initial symptoms of dementia appear in men and women, they tend to progress at a faster rate in women than men. The reasoning for this correlation is not well understood but is suspected to be genetic or environmental in origin.
Memory: Women were seen to experience memory impairment earlier in the course of dementia than men.
Depression: Men with symptoms of depression were found to have a significantly higher risk of developing dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s disease, compared to women with symptoms of depression.
Verbal skills: Men were seen to retain verbal fluency longer than women. This is the ability to correctly perform naming tasks, and the ability to successfully perform delayed recall of words.
Aggression: Men are more likely to be aggressive and act out. They may become agitated and yell or curse at their caregivers.
Wandering: Men are more likely to exhibit wandering tendencies.
Inappropriate Sexual Behavior: Some men may act in sexually inappropriate ways.