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African Americans and Alzheimers Disease

African-Americans are twice as likely as Caucasian people to get Alzheimer's. Although the cause of Alzheimer's disease is not known, studies have shown that persons with a long history of high blood pressure or high cholesterol are twice as likely to get Alzheimer’s disease. Another risk factor is diabetes. All these risk factors are higher in African-Americans.

To be honest, I'm terrified of this being that both of my parents passed away from different forms of dementia. My mom passed away in June 2017, and my dad passed away in July 2009 from a combination of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Now by no means, I'm going to claim that as my fate. I have to realize and be honest with the possible reality that I may suffer the same fate.

We wonder why African Americans are more susceptible to this disease. Many factors have shown that it's hereditary, that they are due to medical conditions since African American's are prone to having high blood pressure. It’s true that the lack of education can add negative influences in during childhood such as the use of home remedies past on thru generations, High fat diet, and just the historical suspicion of the medical system as well as religious or cultural beliefs on health care. Those with higher education with trust and access to medical care, able to have a healthier diet and exercise, have a better chance of earlier diagnosis and to hopefully slow the progression of the disease.

Alzheimer’s has always been taboo in the African American community. People don’t ever want to think of their loved ones as being forgetful or suffering from this disease. They would rather not know. It happens a lot in our community. I remember growing up, and if someone was scatter-brained they were getting old, and it wasn’t seen as a big deal.

What can we do as African Americans to help find a cure? We need to keep the conversation flowing and open. Let's not turn our backs as it will go away. We should continue advocating to make surveys, clinical trials available to us. Let's be real we should as a people participate in social groups, Alzheimer's walks, etc. Honestly, we are the only race including Hispanics, and I don't see enough of our faces out there.

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