Women hit hardest by Alzheimer's disease - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Women hit hardest by Alzheimer's disease

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VALENCIA, Calif. -

Doctors told Pansy Greene four years ago she was in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. She was 69.

"I got lost when I was going to the store. And I couldn't find my way home, so I had to call Winston and have him come pick me up," she said.

New figures from the Alzheimer's Association show a woman's risk for getting the disease is 1 in 6 compared to 1 in 11 for men.

"Women in their sixties are actually twice as likely over the course of their life to develop Alzheimer's disease as they are breast cancer," said Dr. Maria Carrillo of the Alzheimer's Association.

Experts say more research is needed to figure out why women are disproportionately affected.

"Age is the greatest risk factor and women living longer is our primary reason right now for attribution of that difference," Carrillo said.

And more awareness is critical. The report finds about one-quarter of people believe they are only at risk if it runs in their family.

Greene takes medication and is doing all she can to keep her body and mind active

"I do my crossword puzzles; I read my scriptures every day. We get out and walk and we do a lot of things, so I'm not letting anything keep me down," she said.

"How could I not be hopeful and not positive when Pansy is as positive as she is?" Winston Greene said.

Married 57 years, the Greenes also attend meetings to offer support to other couples who want to hold on to their memories as long as they can.

The new report shows women are also more likely to be caregivers of people with Alzheimer's disease. Of the 15 million caregivers in the U.S., two-thirds are women.

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