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dementia and menopause

The Connection Between Menopause and Alzheimer’s

Women are nearly twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than men, but this does not mean that a diagnosis is a guarantee as you age.

During our recent event, experts from Columbia University Irving Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medical Center enlightened us with information about hormones and dementia, and share multiple steps you can take to protect your brain health and reduce the chance of cognitive decline.

Read on to watch our event, learn more about the link between menopause and dementia, and The Kensington Falls Church’s commitment to educating our community and supporting caregivers.

Why are women more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease?

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are more than 6 million people living with Alzheimer’s in the U.S.

Of these 6 million, 4 million are women.

The fact that nearly two-thirds of people living with Alzheimer’s in the U.S. are women has puzzled researchers for years, but they are continuing to find answers and connections.

During this event, we were joineded by Dr. Susan E. Loeb-Zeitlin, an obstetrics and gynecology specialist at Weill Cornell Medical Center, and Dr. Stephanie Cosentino, associate professor of neuropsychology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

Our expert guests will share research on the hormone-Alzheimer’s connection and help the caregivers in our community reduce the chance of developing cognitive decline by sharing tips to protect our brains.

The Kensington Falls Church partners frequently with leaders in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia research.

We strive to provide our community with the latest news and advances in health and wellness for seniors and caregivers as part of Our Promise: to love and care for our residents and their families as we do our own.

What are the factors involved in women developing Alzheimer’s?

Initially, researchers believed that the main reason more women developed Alzheimer’s than men was that women live longer than men. The greatest known risk factor for Alzheimer’s is age.

However, scientists now believe there is much more to it than age alone. Studies have shown that even among men and women who are the same age, women are more likely to develop the disease than men.

Based on current research, scientists have found that the following factors may contribute to a women’s higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s:

  • Autoimmune diseases are more common in women, which may contribute to the development of more amyloid plaques that are found in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s
  • Structural differences in a woman’s brain may increase the spread of a protein known to cause damage in the brain
  • The hormone estrogen decreases in women after menopause, and estrogen may protect the brain from Alzheimer’s

Additionally, there may be cultural, societal, or familial factors that contribute to the increased likelihood of a woman developing Alzheimer’s.

What is the link between dementia and menopause?

New research suggests that women experiencing menopause before age 40 are 35% more likely to develop dementia than those who enter menopause around age 50.

Researchers believe that the reason for the increased risk is due to the lowered estrogen levels that occur post-menopause.

Reduced estrogen can lead to an increase in oxidative stress, which can lead to cognitive impairment.

Experts believe that more research is needed to confirm the findings, including the differences between early menopause that occurs naturally versus early menopause resulting from ovary removal.

What can women do to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s?

While there may be many questions surrounding the reasons why Alzheimer’s occurs, one thing all experts agree on is that it is possible to reduce the risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Consider implementing the following habits, behaviors, and routines to protect your brain and boost your overall health and wellness:

  • Daily exercise, including biking, walking, swimming, jogging, dancing, or other aerobic activities
  • Get enough rest
  • Participate in social activities
  • Play brain games or puzzles to exercise the mind
  • Eat a diet rich in healthy fats, protein, and fiber, including fish, poultry, olive oil, beans, fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, and whole grains — such as the MIND Diet
  • Cut out smoking and excessive alcohol consumption
  • Visit your doctor routinely to stay on top of any existing health issues
  • Reduce stress through breathing exercises, meditation, prayer, yoga, or other methods that work for you

Work closely with your doctor to implement the changes you need to achieve your healthiest self.

Remember that establishing new habits and routines takes time, and it’s okay to start slow and implement small changes at a time.

The Kensington Falls Church: Your partner in caregiving, education, and resources

The Kensington Falls Church is an assisted living and memory care community located in Northern Virginia.

We provide the residents in our community with a full spectrum of care and support, allowing and encouraging them to live a healthy lifestyle through a wide range of services and opportunities.

Our services include:

  • Nutritious, gourmet dining services with accommodation of special dietary needs
  • Full calendar of social events tailored to resident interests and talents
  • Rehabilitation services, including a Brain Fitness program
  • Two specialized memory care “neighborhoods,” Connections and Haven
  • Licensed nurses onsite 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • Medication and diabetes management
  • Individualized service plans tailored to personal wants and physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and spiritual needs
  • Regular family nights and support groups

Our commitment to educating the community on health and wellness extends to the families of our residents and all those who have taken on a caregiver role in our community.

We are passionate about sharing what we have learned through our expert partnerships with our community, so everyone is able to benefit from the information and make positive changes in their lives or the lives of a senior loved one.

We also offer the following caregiver resources:

  • Blog filled with educational content, news and research, event recaps, and more
  • Kensington Konnect hub with cooking tips, book recommendations, music, and podcasts
  • Regular events to connect caregivers with experts, support the community, and share the latest news and research on senior health and wellness topics

If you’re interested in learning more about our community or our upcoming events, please call us today to speak with our team.

Feel free to also check out our suites and floor plans or take a virtual tour of our beautiful community.

We look forward to hearing from you and welcoming you into The Kensington Falls Church family.

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