Women Bear Brunt of Alzheimer's Disease, Report Shows

A new report suggests older women bear the brunt of Alzheimer's disease. (Image credit: Rich Legg/Getty Images)

American women bear the brunt of Alzheimer's disease, according to a new report that highlights gender differences in disease risk and caregiver burden.

The report, released today by the Alzheimer's Association, states that one in six women over 60 will develop Alzheimer's disease - a gloomy figure that dwarfs a one-in-11 chance of breast cancer in the same age group.

Women are also more likely to care for someone with Alzheimer's disease and less likely to ask for outside help, according to the report.

"The higher caregiving burden placed on women has many consequences, including higher emotional and physical stress, strained family relationships and lost employment opportunities," the authors wrote.

The report is a stark reminder of the growing toll of Alzheimer's among aging Americans. The disease is already the sixth-leading cause of death, claiming 500,000 lives each year. And a new victim is diagnosed every 67 seconds, according to the report.

"By 2050, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer's disease may nearly triple, from 5 million to as many as 16 million," the report reads.

The cost of Alzheimer's disease, which currently stands at $214 billion, is predicted to skyrocket to $1.2 trillion by 2050, according to the report.

"Nearly one in every five dollars spent by Medicare is on people with Alzheimer's or another dementia," the report reads.

Alzheimer's disease costs Medicaid roughly $37 billion annually, and out-of-pocket costs for families are estimated at $36 billion, according to the report.