AHA News: Black, Hispanic Families Hit Hardest by Dementia

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TUESDAY, Feb. 23, 2021 (American Heart Association News) — It can begin with the occasional missed bill payment. An inability to remember names. Telling the same story repeatedly. There may be personality changes or mood swings. Confusion. Over time, it’s as if the person who once was slowly disappears.

Dementia. As the population ages, a growing number of families face this debilitating condition, which can be both emotionally and financially exhausting, and require near-constant supervision from spouses or adult children. It can be tough on any family, but in the United States, Black and Hispanic communities are hardest hit.

“We don’t exactly know why,” said Jason Resendez, executive director for the UsAgainstAlzheimer’s Center for Brain Health Equity in Washington, D.C. “More and more evidence is pointing to a mix of factors that are health-related, such as disparities in diabetes and heart disease. But there are also social and economic factors, such as education, social isolation, smoking, low income and other inequalities.”

While dementia risk in the United States has been relatively stable over the past two decades, racial disparities have remained high, according to research published last year in JAMA Neurology. Other data suggest Black adults, from age 50 onward, are two to three times more likely than their white peers to be diagnosed with dementia; Latinos are at 1…

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