Minorities hardest hit by Alzheimer’s disease

Deaths attributable to Alzheimer’s disease increased by 55 percent across the country from 1999 to 2014, but the statistics tell a different story when broken down by race. Rates of Alzheimer’s increased by 99 percent for African-Americans and by 107 percent for Latinos during the same time span, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC’s report shows the disproportionate challenges for brain health and memory care in these two ethnic communities. While some risks are related to inherited genetics and “a wide variety of factors including increased cardiovascular disease risk factors,” many factors involve wellness habits, education and even diagnosing trends, the CDC report noted.

The worst news is that the reported numbers may be far fewer than reality. “Complications from Alzheimer’s, such as pneumonia, might be reported as the cause of death although the actual underlying cause of death, Alzheimer’s, was not reported on the death certificate,” the CDC report explains. “[Or], a person with Alzheimer’s might have dementia assigned as the underlying cause of death rather than a more specific diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.”

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and accounted for 3.6 percent of all U.S. deaths in 2014.

Topics: Alzheimer's/Dementia