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Alzheimer's Twice as Likely to Develop in Minorities


The Alzheimer’s Association has released it’s report, 2010 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures, which details the escalation of Alzheimer's. Currently, more than 5 million American’s are living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

One of the key points of this year's report is the information that minorities, African-Americans and Hispanics, are at higher risk for developing Alzheimer's. African-Americans have almost twice the risk of developing Alzheimer’s as whites. Hispanics have about 1.5 times the risk of developing Alzheimer’s than whites.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder, named for German physician Alois Alzheimer. The destruction of brain cells results in memory loss and problems with cognition. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 50-80% of all cases of dementia. Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s.

The report noted there appears to be no known genetic factor for these differences between minorities and whites. The difference may be due to the impact of health conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. These two health conditions are prevalent in the African-American and Hispanic communities and have been associated with increase Alzheimer risk.

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Risk factors for anyone, African-American, Hispanic, or white, include age, family history, heredity, head injury, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and high cholesterol.

Age, family history and heredity are all risk factors that can’t be changed. The other factors can be. It is important to exercise, watch your lipids (cholesterol), and blood pressure.

Increased awareness is needed in both the African-American and Hispanic communities to encourage education and preventive measures.

Though everyone occasionally blanks, some lapses are more cause for concern. It is normal to occasionally forget names and appointments. It is normal to occasionally forget why you came into a room or what you planned to say. It is normal to occasionally struggle to find the right word. It is normal to misplace keys and wallets.

It is not normal to forget recently learned material. It is not normal to have problems staying organized from day to day. It is not normal to lose track of the steps in making a phone call or playing a game. It is not normal to often forget simple words. It is not normal to put things in unusual places, like your keys in the freezer. It is not normal to play bills twice or completely forget to pay them.

Alzheimer's Association 2010 Report