Half of women but only a third of men will 'develop dementia, Parkinson's or have a stroke in their lifetime'

October 4, 2018  23:45

Half of women will develop dementia, Parkinson’s or have a stroke in their lifetime, researchers have predicted.

But the same analysis found only a third of men will go on to be struck down by one of the three ailments by the time they die.

Scientists today claimed the gender difference was largely driven by women, who are known to face a higher risk of getting dementia.  

Dutch researchers acknowledged preventative measures could 'substantially' reduce the burden of the three neurological illnesses.

And dementia charities today urged middle-aged adults to eat healthily and exercise more, to slash their risk of the ailments.

Scientists at the University Medical Center Rotterdam tracked the health of 12,000 people for a period of 26 years.

All participants were under the age of 45 when the experiment began, published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry.

Between 1990 and 2016, the team of researchers led by Dr Arfan Ikram found 1,489 had been diagnosed with dementia.

A further 1,285 had suffered a stroke while 263 were diagnosed with parkisonism - of which Parkinson's is the most common form.

When the figures were broken down, it was found women (48 per cent) had a greater risk of developing one of the conditions than men (36 per cent). 

Dementia was of greatest concern for women - 25.9 per cent compared to 13.7 per cent for men - but the rates for stroke and Parkinson's were similar.

Charities have for years highlighted the 'disproportionate' gap in rates of dementia between the genders, largely driven by women living longer. 

The study also found rates of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes were higher in the patients struck down by one of the three conditions.

Dr Ikram and colleagues said their findings 'strengthen the call' for prioritising the focus on preventative interventions for people.

They added this could 'substantially reduce the burden of common neurological diseases in the ageing population'. 

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