Dementia is not color blind: Dementia in minorities
Continuing with DMS and the #DMSHeatlh campaign on raising awareness on dementia and Alzheimer, whe now shed a light of the effects of Demetian in minorities.
According to an Alzheimer’s Association report, African-Americans are twice as likely to develop forms of dementia. Hispanics, on the other hand, are 1.5 more likely than Caucasians. This report, alongside other studies reports and studies regarding the effects of dementia and the reach the disease has among minorities in the US has confirmed that these portions of the population are more at risk of developing dementia.
According to multiple studies, the reason behind this statistic has nothing to do with genetics and more on access to healthcare. The Alzheimer’s Society in the UK reported a year ago that the number of people in minority ethnic groups dealing with the condition is steadily growing year by year. Yet health officials are not addressing awareness and support as a priority. Very similar statistics are being reported in this side of the Atlantic as well.
In the Latino community in the United States, there has been steady evidence that suggest that Alzheimer’s symptoms may affect them years before Caucasian Americans. In average, Latinos begin showing symptoms of dementia up to nearly seven years earlier than white people. Experts are urging voicing the need of further research among the Latino community, trying to determine the causes and possible treatment for the illness.
In blacks, the statistics are very similar, but they exhibit a higher statistic possibility of developing dementia that other ethnic groups, almost tripling the percentage in white counterparts. In general, the Alzheimer burden falls disproportionately on minority populations, but in the African-American community this is far more evident. The access of care of minorities of poor conditions, worsens the problem. As statistic have shown in the past, minorities are also less likely to be prescribed anti-dementia medications. To quote one study in particular, minority patients in Alzheimer’s disease research centers in California had 40% lower odds of dementia medication use compared to whites.
The discussion must be brought to the forefront as time goes by, the issue has only shown numbers that is worsen. Medical and health care access is and has been an issue that is yet to be addressed properly. Results from many studies have shown enough evidence that racial disparities in the way demenatia is treated exists. A call for futher researches should include lager numbers of minority patients and consider dementia type and severity, access to care and other cultural factors. A whole broad spectrum needs to be investigated and documented as Alzheimer appears to be not colorblind when it comes to its victims.