In honor of Black History Month, the Diverse Elders Coalition is featuring stories relevant to black aging during February. A new story will be shared every Wednesday, with additional posts shared throughout the month. Be sure to visit diverseelders.org regularly during the month of February.
This article by Lewis W. Diuguid (email@example.com) originally appeared in The Kansas City Star
Since my mother died of Alzheimer’s disease in 1994, I always wondered as I attended fundraisers and events for caregivers why so many African Americans filled the rooms.
A recent study by John Hopkins University helps explain it. It shows that older African Americans are two to three times more likely to have Alzheimer’s disease compared with whites. That’s a new Black History Month concern for young African Americans and their elders whom new generations depend on for wisdom and advice.
Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death for all Americans, and the fourth leading cause of death for older African Americans age 85 and older, the study notes. The African American Network Against Alzheimer’s calls the disease “an unappreciated disparities issue,” adding that Alzheimer’s in general should “create a sense of urgency among policymakers to deal with this growing problem.” Keep in mind that African Americans are 13.6 percent of the U.S. population, but more than 20 percent of Americans with the disease are black.
There is no known cause or cure for Alzheimer’s. However, the study notes strong correlations between Alzheimer’s disease and the high incidence of hypertension, diabetes, strokes and heart disease among African Americans.
For the full article, which originally appeared in The Kansas City Star click here
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.
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