LULAC and Latinos Against Alzheimer's are teaming up to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s impact on the Latino community.
What is Alzheimer's?
Alzheimer’s is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually even the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. It is the most common cause of dementia in older people but is not a normal part of the aging process. Alzheimer’s is a fatal disease and, currently, there is no cure.
Latinos and Alzheimer's
Latinos represent the fastest growing older adult population in the United States, with a life expectancy projected to increase from age 80 to 87 by 2050, increasing the Latino segment of the nation’s elderly population from 5% today to 16%.
The number of Latino older adults suffering from Alzheimer’s and related dementias could increase by more than 6 times, from approximately 200,000 today to as many as 1.3 million by 2050.
Alzheimer's Risk Factors
Latinos are 1.5 times more likely than non-Latino whites to develop Alzheimer’s disease, in part, due to increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke—all additional risk factors for Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
Barriers to Treatment and Understanding
Several barriers prevent Latinos from accessing preventative care and diagnosis for Alzheimer’s and related dementias, including cultural biases in cognitive testing, inadequate translation of diagnostic tools, and a lack of bilingual professionals in the cognitive health field. Further, Latino older adults are less likely to participate in the formal healthcare system due to cultural distrust of the system and a lack of healthcare coverage compared to non-Latino older adults.