Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
(BLACK PR WIRE/FAMU-TALLAHASSEE) – Alzheimer's disease is a brain disorder that affects millions of people every day. There are 5.3 million people living with this progressive and fatal disease. It is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. According to the Alzheimer's Association’s “2010 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures,” African Americans are at a higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s. The 70-page detailed report states that African Americans are about twice more likely to have Alzheimer’s than whites.
Several risk factors, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, are associated with increasing the chances of Alzheimer’s disease. These risk factors are prevalent in the African American community. The Alzheimer's Association reported that 80 percent of African Americans with cognitive impairment had high blood pressure compared to 69 percent with normal cognition. According to Alzheimer's Disease Research, high blood pressure may damage blood vessels in the brain, affecting regions that are essential in decision-making, memory and verbal skills.
African Americans are also less likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease than whites. The Alzheimer's Association states that long delays often occur between family members recognizing early symptoms of the disease and scheduling a medical evaluation. The Alzheimer's Association provides findings from the 2006 HRS survey that show African Americans with cognitive impairment are less likely to report when a physician says he or she has a memory-related disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is a non-curable disorder that destroys brain cells needed for memory and thinking skills. Some individuals who suffer from Alzheimer’s are unable to accomplish simple tasks like going to the bathroom or putting on their clothes. There are drug and non-drug treatments that help people maintain mental function and slow progression of the disease. For more information on Alzheimer’s and treatment, visit the Alzheimer's Association at www.alz.org or the National Institute on Aging at www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/.