As the aging population continues to grow, so will the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease in Blacks. Worse yet, studies show that Blacks will be hit hardest.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2018 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, an estimated 5.2 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease and 1.1 million of them are Black-American.
Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. However, it is the fourth leading cause of death in older Blacks.
Moreover, where you live can impact how likely you are to die as a result of Alzheimer’s.
For example, deaths from Alzheimer’s in Mississippi are 45.8 percent higher than in any other state. On the other hand, New York residents with Alzheimer’s experience the lowest death rate at 13.1 percent.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating, progressive disease. It slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. It also causes challenging behavior problems, and eventually leads to an inability to carry out simple tasks.
Most people with Alzheimer’s have a late-onset type with symptoms appearing in their mid-60s. Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease is very rare, occurring in individuals between 30 to 65 years of age.
Why are Blacks Hardest Hit?
Scientists don’t yet fully understand what causes Alzheimer’s disease in most people.
However, research suggests Alzheimer’s disease is caused by a combination of genetic, health, lifestyle, and environmental factors.
The importance of these factors in increasing or decreasing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s differs in Blacks compared to whites.