Researchers from Mayo Clinic have shown an association with coronary heart disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol with declines in language scores in women. The decline in memory and thinking skills during midlife was more prevalent for women than for men. The research was published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
"It is well-known that men, compared to women, have a higher prevalence of cardiovascular conditions and risk factors in midlife. However, our study suggests that women in midlife with these conditions and risk factors are at greater risk of cognitive decline," says Michelle Mielke, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic epidemiologist and neuroscientist, and senior author of the study.
Mayo Clinic’s Michelle M. Mielke, Ph.D.
Women Should Get Additional Attention
Mielke says while everyone should be treated for cardiovascular conditions and risk factors in midlife, women should be carefully monitored to prevent a decline in cognitive ability.
The Mayo Clinic studies 1,857 participants who did not have dementia at the time of their initial visit, ages 50 to 69. The group was about 50/50 men and women (920 were men, and 937 were women).
About 79% of the participants, or 1,465, had at least one cardiovascular risk factor or condition — 83% of men, compared to 75% of women. The participant's risk factors included high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking, and obesity. The participants' conditions going into the study included coronary artery disease, heart rhythm disorders, congestive heart failure, peripheral artery disease, and stroke.
Every 15 months, each participant in the study was evaluated with nine tests of memory, language, executive function, and spatial skills.
It is important to understand sex differences in the development of cognitive impairment to enhance the health of women and men, Dr. Mielke says.
Additional Research Necessary
Middle-aged adults, especially women with a history of heart disease, may represent critical subgroups for early monitoring. Mielke says that additional research is needed across the life span to examine potential mechanisms explaining sex differences in the relationship between cardiovascular factors and cognition, such as hormones, genetics, lifestyle, and psychosocial factors.
Cognitive decline is one of the leading causes of long-term health care as individuals get older. Women tended to live longer and have higher rates of dementia and long-term care needs than men. Women tend to require care longer than men do as well.
According to a Long-Term Care Insurance claim’s study, nearly two-thirds of benefits went to women. The study was conducted by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI), national consumer education and advocacy group.
Long-Term Health Care Costs Rising
The costs of taking care of those with dementia and other health and aging issues are rising rapidly, causing tremendous strain on American families - and families worldwide. The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator shows these costs also vary depending on where you live - Cost of Care Calculator - Choose Your State | LTC News.
In the United States, health insurance, including Medicare and supplements, pays only for about 100 days of skilled long-term care services; however, most care is help with daily living activities or supervision due to dementia and is not covered. Medicaid will pay for all types of long-term health care, but the care recipient must have little or no income and assets.
LTC Insurance Helps if You Can Obtain Coverage Before Health Declines
In the United States, Long-Term Care Insurance is available and will pay for long-term care, including supervision due to cognitive decline, but policies cannot be purchased once a severe health problem exists. For the most part, people purchase Long-Term Care Insurance in their 50s.
In other nations, national or private Long-Term Care Insurance exists, or there is a combination of public and private care.
While there is continuing research on dementia and Alzheimer's, longevity is still creating an increased need for long-term care services, and those costs place a financial strain on many families.
Many families find themselves in a crisis forcing one of the adult children to become a caregiver despite being untrained and unprepared for the role. These family caregivers attempt to jiggle their jobs and families with their new role of caregiver, placing burden and anxiety on the caregiver and their family.
About the Author
Linda is a freelance writer interested in retirement planning, health and aging.
Contributor since October 31st, 2017
People require long-term health care due to changes in their health, body, and mind. Whether you become ill, have mobility problems, or have other aging issues, being prepared will reduce the stress and anxiety placed on family members and give you peace of mind to enjoy your future retirement.
Family caregivers face physical and emotional challenges they must deal with as they juggle their work and family responsibilities along with being a caregiver.
Professional care services are expensive and adversely impact income, assets, lifestyle, and legacy. The costs are expected to climb even higher in the decades ahead, placing tremendous financial pressure on American families.
Start researching your coverage options before retirement. Most people purchase coverage in their 50s—the earlier, the better to save money and take advantage of good health discounts.
Available Resources on LTC NEWS
LTC NEWS offers several tools and resources to help you in your research for a planning solution or help your family find the appropriate care for a loved one at the time of crisis.
To help you plan for the future costs and burdens of changing health and aging, LTC NEWS has put in place several resources, including:
- The Ultimate Long-Term Care Guide is an outstanding read to help you get a good overview of the topic area.
- Compare the major insurance companies that offer Long-Term Care Insurance products here - Top Insurers for Long-Term Care Insurance | LTC News.
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Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care
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Seek Professional Guidance
Experts suggest using a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you navigate the many options available to you and your family.
Insurance rates are regulated, so no insurance agent, agency, or financial advisor can give you special deals. However, insurance companies' premiums vary over 100% for the same coverage.
A specialist who works with the top companies can match your age, health, family history, and other factors and find you the best coverage at the best value. A specialist will save you money, and you will have peace of mind knowing they are making the appropriate recommendations - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.
Find Quality Caregivers and Long-Term Care Facilities
If your parent or loved one needs care now - or soon - you will need to find the appropriate care in the right setting depending on their needs.
Take a moment and read -
Get Expert Help Filing an LTC Insurance Claim
LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation to help you, or a loved one complete the claims process with your Long-Term Care Insurance policy.
You can also get support in finding quality caregivers and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy or not. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News.
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