Texas County Distributes Book On Alzheimer's Focused On Blacks

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Health officials in Harris County, Texas, last week distributed toHouston-area churches about 20,000 copies of "The Book of Alzheimer'sfor African-American Churches," which details information and factsabout the disease from a local prospective, the Houston Chroniclereports. The book also includes advice on how blacks can offer supportto family members with the disease and how to ask for outside help.

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Researchersbelieve that blacks have a higher risk of Alzheimer's disease becausethey also are more likely to have cardiovascular disease, hypertensionand diabetes, which might have cognitive effects, the Chroniclereports. Blacks are more likely to ignore symptoms of the disease amongolder members of the community because they believe memory loss andincoherence is a normal part of aging, according to the Alzheimer's Foundation of America. That belief causes some blacks to avoid seeking medical diagnosis or treatment, the Chronicle reports.

Richard Elbein, director of the Houston and Southeast Texas chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, said the effort is important because the black community historically has had limited access to health care services.

VictorNarcisse, a local gerontologist who has conducted research on dementiaamong blacks and is featured in the book, said, "African-Americansappear less likely to request help and use community resources thancaregivers in the other groups," adding, "There is a tendency [forblacks] to take care of things [themselves], which is fine, but it isvery difficult to take care of a person with Alzheimer's disease"(Casimir, Houston Chronicle, 10/15).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser WeeklyHealth Disparities Report,search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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