Dementia Deadlier for Women Than Men

  • By Lee Kum-sook

    November 01, 2018 08:29

    The mortality rate from dementia for women is more than double that of men, statistics show.

    According to 2017 data on causes of death from Statistics Korea, 9,291 people -- 2,699 men and 6,592 women -- died of dementia. That translates into deaths of 25.7 for every 100,000 women, and 10.6 for per 100,000 men.

    The higher rate reflects women's longer life expectancy. The prevalence of Alzheimer's disease, which accounts for 60 to 70 percent of dementia cases, increases significantly with age. It was 5.2 percent for those aged 70 to 74, 11.3 percent for 75 to 79, 17.8 percent for 80 to 84, and 30.5 percent for 85 or above.

    Because women generally live longer than men, there are more women suffering from dementia, so more die of the illness.

    Another factor is differing diagnosis rates. Bae Jong-bin at Seoul National University Hospital in Bundang said, "The number of women diagnosed with dementia at hospitals is double that of men. Many men also suffer from dementia but are not diagnosed. So when they die, the cause of their death is usually recorded as old age."

    Dementia also tends to progress more quickly in women than men, raising the likelihood of death.

    "Learning and education are considered a resilience factor against dementia. In the past, women generally did not receive as much education as men, so we suspect that this also contributes to their higher mortality rate from dementia," Bae said.

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