Diverse and growing Hispanic/Latino populations in New York City share a common...

Diverse and growing Hispanic/Latino populations in New York City share a common risk: Alzheimer’s disease

Hispanics are one-and-a-half times more likely to develop Alzheimer's and other dementias than their white neighbors


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NEW YORK, May 4, 2017 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — The Mexican celebration of Cinco de Mayo, the Puerto Rican Day and Dominican Day parades are just a few of the colorful and highly anticipated community events that recognize the diverse and unique Hispanic/Latino populations in New York City. The Puerto Rican population of New York City is the largest outside Puerto Rico, and according to the NYC2010 Census, the Hispanic population in New York City grew by 8.1 percent in the past decade, reaching 2,336,076 and accounting for 28.6 percent of the city’s population.

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Hispanics everywhere take pride in their individual cultures, but they all share an unwelcome statistic: Hispanics are one-and-a-half times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s and other dementias than their white neighbors, and their numbers are growing every year.

The Alzheimer’s Association reports that although the rate of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in Hispanics is higher than in whites, they are less likely than whites to have a diagnosis of the condition. According to the 2006 Health and Retirement Study (HRS), both African-Americans and Hispanics with cognitive impairment are less likely than whites to say that a doctor has told them they have a “memory-related disease.”

When they are diagnosed, Hispanics and African-Americans are typically diagnosed in the later stages of the disease, when they are more cognitively and physically impaired – and therefore need more medical care. As a result, both groups use substantially more hospital, physician and home health services – and incur substantially higher costs for those services – than whites with Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association reported that Medicare payments for Hispanics with Alzheimer’s and other dementias were 37 percent higher than those for their white counterparts.

Genetic factors do not appear to account for the greater prevalence of – or the greater risk for developing – Alzheimer’s disease in Hispanics. However, high blood pressure and diabetes are substantial risk factors for Alzheimer’s and other dementias among all groups, and diabetes is more prevalent in the Hispanic community. These conditions, among others, may contribute to the greater prevalence of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Better management of these conditions – especially if treatment were begun in people who have these conditions in midlife – may help reduce Alzheimer’s and dementia risk among Hispanics.

To meet the urgent need for education and support in the Hispanic communities, the Alzheimer’s Association offers a wealth of Spanish-language courses on the Training and Education Center at www.alz.org/espanol and on www.alz.org. These courses share important information about healthy aging, how to “Know the 10 Signs® – Early Detection Matters”, clinical trials, and legal and financial planning tips for families once a diagnosis is confirmed. The Alzheimer’s Association also offers free care consultations, both in person and confidentially online, with trained, bilingual social workers who can be reached anytime, day or night at the Helpline 800.272.3900.

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Diverse and growing Hispanic/Latino populations in New York City share a common risk: Alzheimer’s disease