Alzheimer’s Disease Disproportionately Affects Black Families

Written by on May 7, 2024

Alzheimer
Alzheimer, text words typography written with wooden letter, health and medical concept / Depositphotos

*In a report published on EUR in 2017, we explored the primary cause and additional factors contributing to Black Americans being twice as likely as whites to suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease.

In an update on LA Focus News, the outlet writes, The reasons for these disparities seem to be linked to a tapestry of socioeconomic inequalities such as lack of healthy food options, limited access to healthcare, and high rates of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, leading to delayed diagnosis and treatment.”

Alzheimer’s disease refers to a disorder of the nervous system that causes abnormalities in the brain, leading to memory loss and cognitive decline. It starts mild but worsens over time.

In a survey by the Alzheimer’s Association, 65% of black Americans report knowing someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Additionally, 55% perceive significant cognitive decline or memory loss as a natural aspect of aging rather than a disease, while only 35% express concern about Alzheimer’s, per LA Focus News. 

The report also notes that Black individuals encounter more obstacles in accessing medical care. Fifty percent of Black Americans report experiencing discrimination while seeking care for a person living with Alzheimer’s.

Senior Couple
Portrait Of Senior Couple – stock image /Depositphotos

“We know that many black Americans are fearful and distrustful of a healthcare system that has committed medical atrocities against them,” says Stephanie Monroe of the Alzheimer’s Clinical Trials Consortium, per LA Focus News. “It’s going to be great if we can get ahead of Alzheimer’s disease before it starts, but for that to happen, more people of color need to be comfortable talking about their brain health, especially with their doctor.”

Per EUR’s 2017 report on the disease

Stress is the leading cause

According to another research done by Dr. Zuelsdorff, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, and his team by analyzing 1320 patients, of which 82 were African Americans, from the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention Study, it was concluded that the blacks were subject to 60% more stressful situations during their early life, compared to the whites, such as facing financial insecurity, having parents who had substance abuse issues, surviving the death of a child, etc. For them, each stressful experience led to 4 years of cognitive decline.

Other factors

Infant mortality rate tells you about the health and well being of a population. So, a high infant mortality rate is an indicator of social adversity. According to studies, African Americans born and brought up in states with high infant mortality rates were 80% more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s.

According to another study, it was found that living in a less privileged neighborhood such as those that were challenged by poverty, low education, unemployment, etc, increased the chances of developing Alzheimer’s.

Here’s more from LA Focus News:

Black people are also missing out in participating in clinical trials, or research studies conducted with volunteers to determine whether treatments are safe and effective. Not only can clinical trials potentially slow down Alzheimer’s for someone experiencing symptoms but it also contributes to the future of Alzheimer’s disease prevention– and without them there can be no treatments, prevention or cure for the disease.

READ MORE FROM EURWEB.COM: African Americans More at Risk of Developing Alzheimer’s

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