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February 11, 2014

African-Americans twice as likely to have Alzheimer’s, association says

As the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research, the Alzheimer’s Association said in a press release that it is committed to raising awareness of this fatal brain disease and its warning signs in diverse populations during Black History Month and year round.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2013 Facts and Figures report, African-Americans are about twice as likely than whites to have Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia but are less likely to have a diagnosis.

While there are currently no treatments to stop or even slow the progression of Alzheimer’s, early detection and diagnosis can allow for earlier use of available treatments that may provide some relief of symptoms and help maintain independence longer.

Delays in diagnosis mean that Alzheimer’s patients are not getting treatments when they are most likely to be effective at improving quality of life, as well as taking critical steps to educate themselves on Alzheimer’s and establish support networks.

The Alzheimer’s Association provides culturally and linguistically appropriate resources and materials for many diverse audiences, such as an African-American web portal that highlights information and issues that might be of specific concern to African-Americans.

 “If someone is concerned about or experiencing memory loss, it is vital they connect with the Alzheimer’s Association,” says Linda Altmeyer, Director of Programs, Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter.

“Diagnosis in the early stages of the disease allows one to plan for their care and have necessary conversations with their care partner.”

Individuals can seek assistance through the association’s 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900.

10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s

• Memory loss that disrupts daily life.

• Challenges in planning or solving problems.

• Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure.

• Confusion with time or place.

• Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.

• New problems with words in speaking or writing.

• Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.

• Decreased or poor judgment.

• Withdrawal from work or social activities.

• Changes in mood and personality.

For more information on the 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s disease and available resources, call the Alzheimer’s Association toll-free, 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900 or visit alz.org/indiana.

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