Black Boomers and Alzheimer’s Disease

You are on the train going to work, when you begin to panic. You cannot remember if you have turned off the stove. You have been searching for your glasses for the last four hours and cannot find them. Worse of all your daughter called you this morning because you had forgotten her birthday. So you are wondering, are these early signs of Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a condition in which the nerves and tissue in the brain dies. The brain begins to shrink affecting its ability to function. The disease progresses in stages mild to severe over a period of eight to 20 years.

Alzheimer’s disease is a silent epidemic that is growing more rapidly in the 65 and over population. Black Americans are at greater risk for developing this condition because of the higher incidence of high blood pressure, and high cholesterol in these communities.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association there are 10 warning signs of this condition:

  1. Forgetting current information such as appointments or names of family members.
  2. Making errors when doing familiar things such as paying monthly bills.
  3. Difficulty in completing every day work, home or leisure activities.
  4. Losing track of days of the week or seasons.
  5. Difficulty in judging distance or recognizing his/her reflection in a mirror
  6. Problems with speaking, writing or finding the right words.
  7. Misplacing things and accusing others of stealing.
  8. Making bad financial decisions, loss of interest in personal hygiene.
  9. Work, family or social withdrawal.
  10. Personality and mood changes with confusion, depression, anxiety or fear.

Of course we all experience some of these changes in our daily lives. However if there is a cluster of these changes the person should seek medical attention so that this condition can be easily detected and treated.

H. Barker Ph. D, RN