The second edition of the Black Health Chronicle is launching at an extraordinary time in American history, the period we celebrate Black History Month (BHM). In its 44th rotation, BHM 2022 focuses on Health and Wellness. We celebrate the legacy of our medical practitioners, birth workers, doulas, nurses, community health workers, and educators throughout Washington state.
In addition to celebrating BHM and the impact we have on the medical world, we also raise awareness about diseases that plague our communities such as Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is a disease listed as the most common cause of dementia and the sixth leading cause of death among adults in the U.S. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, nearly six million people have been diagnosed with the disease that continues to pose significant public health challenges to caregivers, families, and healthcare workers.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. It is a disease that is irreparable. The key symptoms include losing your memory, wandering off and getting lost, taking longer to complete your daily tasks, increased anxiety and aggression, and trouble handling money. It is the most common cause of dementia among people aged 65 and above. A person who has dementia permanently loses their ability to think and remember things, and early diagnosis and supportive care can significantly improve one’s quality of life.
Even though the white population makes up for most of those with Alzheimer’s, the African American community is about two times more likely than whites to have Alzheimer’s and other dementias due to late diagnosis.
While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, research has shown that throughout the life course, prevention efforts may potentially delay or prevent a third of dementia cases. These include engaging in mentally stimulating activities, such as reading books and playing chess. Additionally, try to avoid stress, depression, head trauma, diabetes, high blood pressure, and weight gain in midlife and beyond to reduce your chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease.
Most importantly, engaging in regular physical exercise, quality sleep, avoiding smoking, maintaining good heart health in later life, and including vitamin C in your diet serve as protective factors against Alzheimer’s.
For resources and information to learn more about the signs of Alzheimer’s disease and to get help for yourself and/or loved ones click here.