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  The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Monday, March 11, 2013

Why Black Senior Citizens Are Twice As Likely To Get Alzheimer's Disease

African Americans Alzheimers

Alzheimer's is a disease of the brain that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. It is a progressive disease that destroys brain cells and gets worse over time, eventually leading to death. More than five million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. There is no cure for Alzheimer's.

African-Americans are twice as likely as white people to get Alzheimer's. Although the cause of Alzheimer's disease is not known, studies have shown that persons with a history of high blood pressure or high cholesterol are twice as likely to get Alzheimer’s disease. Another risk factor is diabetes. All these risk factors are higher in African-Americans.

Alzheimer's is not just normal forgetfulness that comes with age. It is a serious form of dementia, or loss of memory, that robs its victims of the ability to function normally. Here are some of the symptoms to look for:
  • Memory Loss - not being able to remember important dates and names at all
  • Inability to work with numbers
  • Inability to complete daily tasks
  • Confusion with time and place - not knowing where you are or how you got there
  • Vision problems - including judging distance or identifying color
  • Problems in speaking and writing - inability to complete or follow a conversation
  • Misplacing things
  • Inability to make decisions
  • Withdrawal - avoiding social activities
  • Changes in mood or personality - this can include depression, fear, anxiety, even hostility.
Recognizing the symptoms of Alzheimer's is important in order to seek diagnosis and treatment as early as possible. Although there is no cure for the disease, there are treatments and medical help available that can slow its progress and help Alzheimer's patients maintain their quality of life as long as possible.

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