Here's What We Should Keep In Mind About Alzheimer's

Woman posing question to group
Via Pixnio
Leslie Taylor-Grover
March 24, 2020

Black people are much more likely to have Alzheimer’s than any other race. For us, this is an issue of survival. What’s going on here?

 

We may face a higher risk than our white counterparts, but our brains decline much more slowly than theirs and the disease develops differently in our bodies. 

This means our brains have less of the toxic protein that appears to cause Alzheimer’s in white people, and that we often live longer with the disease than they do. But it’s still a major risk for us.

Those of us who live in Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Tennessee are the most likely to develop Alzheimer’s. These places have the highest populations of Black people and some of the most racist and violent histories against us. 

These histories translate to greater inequalities in health, housing, education, and employment, and it means added stress, a major factor in developing the disease.

So what can help us fight this disease? High blood pressure and less schooling are associated with higher chances of getting it, so we should get our blood pressure in check, get as much education as we can beyond high school, and get rid of the shame surrounding Alzheimer’s by talking to each other about this disease.

Alzheimer’s is hitting our communities hard, and the medical establishment often mistreats and overlooks us. But the more we advocate and build for ourselves in health and in research, the closer we will get to improving our outcomes against this disease.

We have a quick favor to ask:

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