We hear a lot of politically correct sermonizing to “support the fight” against breast cancer. Most of this comes from the non-profit breast cancer industry, which is proficient at publicity stunts but lacks scientific awareness and innovation.
Yes, breast cancer is always a potential threat to women. But thankfully, we are becoming increasingly adept at detecting it and treating it…unlike an even greater danger that lurks in the background. This greater danger devours whole minds. And it devastates whole families, physically and financially.
Of course, I’m talking about Alzheimer’s disease.
This real threat to women’s health garners a tiny fraction of the attention compared to breast cancer. Yet it costs us twice as much. And affects far more women, both directly and indirectly. In fact, there are one million more women living in the U.S. with AD than all the women combined who have breast cancer or are breast cancer survivors.
Here are some of the other little-known facts about this disease:
No.1: Women are twice as likely as men to get AD
There are presently about 5.1 million AD victims living in the U.S. And 3.4 million of them are women.
Of course, we associate AD with aging. And women do live longer than men, on average. Yet this gap is closing. And in many places like the South and the West, women aren’t living longer any more. The gap has disappeared altogether.
Plus, that statistic about women being twice as likely as men to get AD is age-adjusted. So there’s something else at work here. It’s not just that many women still live longer. For some reason, women appear more prone to develop Alzheimer’s disease as well. And we need to discover why.
No. 2: Two out of three caregivers are women
Women need to know about AD not just because they are more prone to get the disease. They are also more likely to take care of an AD patient. In fact, of the 15 million AD caregivers, 10 million are women.
Taking care of someone with AD is a tremendous responsibility.
In fact, it often involves a 24/7 commitment. This often forces you to quit your job. So you may wind up losing your own health insurance.
This time commitment adds up to 17.5 billion hours. And $216 billion in lost wages. By comparison, the direct costs of AD–such as hospital stays and medical treatment–comes to just $109 billion per year.
Still–$109 billion is nothing to sneeze at. These direct costs for AD still exceed the direct costs for heart disease and cancer.
No. 3: Caregivers suffer too
Caregivers often suffer from health problems of their own, such as anxiety, depression, and stress. They also have higher rates of heart disease and obesity.
In fact, caring for someone with AD can be even harder than caring for someone with other chronic diseases.
A 1999 study compared 58 AD caregivers to 32 caregivers of chronically ill patients without AD. They found that AD caregivers had higher stress levels. They also had higher death rates. The researchers said the length of time caring for the AD patient was a key factor.
No. 4: Politicos don’t pay attention to AD
The only way politicians, activists, and the “disease-of-the-month” crowd measure medical importance is to determine how many tax dollars are spent on it. By this standard, AD does not appear very important. It only directly costs taxpayers $450 million a year. So, to anyone not looking closely, AD is not a big issue. It doesn’t cost enough.
Politicos favor medical issues like HIV/AIDs. These issues cost taxpayers $3 billion per year, but affect only a small sub-set of the population.
So what’s left for AD?
Not much, unfortunately. And it shows. Case in point: Did you know that Alzheimer’s disease is the only “top-10” disease without a viable mainstream treatment?
It doesn’t help that government bureaucrats and mainstream science ignore promising natural approaches. Instead, they peddle misinformation about “prevention” to the public.
No. 5: Women’s health doesn’t get as much attention
Women’s health in general doesn’t get the attention it deserves. But not in the way that activists claim.
For example, over several decades, doctors and researchers treated heart disease as a male disease. So research studies and clinical practice totally focused on men. But now heart disease is the number one cause of death in women too, thanks in part to this neglect.
So, the fact that AD is a “woman’s disease,” appears to make it even less “fashionable.”
No. 6: Look outside of Washington for help
All this neglect from Washington has led others to take action. An organization called Women Against Alzheimer’s (WAZ) recently sprang into action. It demands more scientific studies and answers. It also lobbies for more tax-supported spending.
Unfortunately, WAZ appears to discredit the value of fish oil supplements. They also discredit mind-body exercises that we already know can help with AD.
But you don’t have to wait for WAZ or the politically correct buffoons in Washington to get their acts together.
There are things you can do now to prevent and improve memory loss with natural, affordable approaches. I describe these alternatives in my special report, “The Insider’s Answer for Dodging Dementia.” Subscribers to my newsletter get this report for free. If you are not yet a subscriber, now is the perfect time to become one.
1. “The stress and psychological morbidity of the Alzheimer patient caregiver,” International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry September 1999; 14(9): 701-710