Can stress during midlife can put older women at risk of Alzheimer’s disease?
The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. This progressive disease has no proven cause, therapy, or cure. It affects millions of individuals in the United States. However, what scientists know is that females bear the most condition’s. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, almost two-thirds of U.S. people with Alzheimer’s are females. To explain this distinction, however, there are only theories; there is no concrete proof.
What Has Research Shown?
Previous research has shown that age can have an important effect on female stress reaction and that memory and behavioral problems can be caused by a stressful life experience. These issues tend to be short-term, though. Researchers have now chosen to look at the connection between stress and Alzheimer’s long-term.
A ordinary reaction to stress creates a temporary rise in stress hormones, such as cortisol. When it’s over, concentrations come back to baseline and you recover. But your body mounts an increased and sustained hormone reaction with repeated stress or increased sensitivity to stress that takes longer to recover from. We understand if the concentrations of stress hormones boost and stay high, this is not useful for the hippocampus of the brain.
What Midlife Stress Can Do
Data from more than 900 inhabitants of Baltimore disclosed a connection that could be crucial in demonstrating why females aged 65 and above have one in six chances of developing Alzheimer’s. The citizens participated in the study of the Epidemiologic Catchment Area of the National Institute of Mental Health. The survey was first joined by participants in the early 1980s.
The scientists questioned each participant during their third interview of four if they had experienced a traumatic event in the previous year. These occurrences included rape, physical assaults, threats, natural disasters, or watching someone else suffer injury or lose their lives.
A second issue asked whether they had experienced a stressful life at the same moment, such as divorce, a friend or family member’s death, severe illness, marriage, or retirement. There was a comparable amount of males and females reporting a traumatic experience, 22% of males and 23% of females. The same was true for stressful events in life, with 47% of men and 50% of women saying they had experienced at least one in the previous year.
The participants all took a standardized memory test at their third and fourth appointments. One notable activity involved remembering 20 words that testers spoke aloud and immediately repeated, as well as 20 minutes later. The scientists, after evaluating their responses, determined a female-only connection between stressful midlife life occurrences and a higher decline in memory and word recognition.
How to Cope with the Stress
Traumatic life events did not result in the same decline. Chronic stress may affect the functioning of the brain more than a short-term traumatic event. Notably, there was no connection between stressful or traumatic midlife experiences and declining memory in men. There was also no impact on men or women from stressful experiences that occurred earlier in life.
Stopping stress is a job that is almost impossible, but the way the body responds to it can be changed. Medications that could alter how the brain copes in the development stage with stressful occurrences. Combining these with well-known methods to relieve stress can assist as individuals age, especially females.