Guest Blog: The Impact Alzheimer's Disease has on the African American Population


Our Guest Blog today comes from Caroline Guchu, a senior at Union College in Lincoln, who is interning at the Alzheimer’s Association Nebraska Chapter. She shares her perspective and some information about how Alzheimer's affects African Americans.

During Black History Month, I’d like to recognize the impact Alzheimer’s disease has on the African American population. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are currently more than 5 million Americans living with the disease, and it’s the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. It is also disproportionately impacting the African American community, as older African Americans are twice as likely as older white Americans to develop the disease.

It has been proven that there are higher rates of of diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and heart disease in African Americans compared to whites. All of these problems are risk factors for Alzheimer’s and dementia. With the stigma related to talking about the disease, this leads to late diagnosis in the later stages of Alzheimer’s when individuals are more cognitively and physically impaired. Due to this issue, the African American community is in need of more medical care, so it’s very crucial to meet with physicians and share information about the importance of early detection.

As an African American woman and as the oldest child in my family, this information helps me take a step back to evaluate things that are going on in my life and with my parents, given our family history with hypertension and heart disease.

I encourage everyone to visit to learn more about how Alzheimer’s disease affects African Americans as well as other minority groups and to get more information on research. Together we can fight Alzheimer’s and help find a cure for the 5 million Americans who are suffering from this disease.