NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

HISPANICS MAY BE AT GREATER RISK FOR ALZHEIMER'S THAN OTHERS, SAYS STUDY

June 9, 2004

Hispanic rates of Alzheimer's disease could increase over six-fold by the year 2050, likely due to high diabetes rates, inadequate health care and the rapid growth of the elderly Hispanic population, says the Alzheimer's Association..

Alzheimer's among Hispanics is expected to grow at double the rate of the overall population, and many factors contribute to the increase:

  • The diabetes rate (which is a factor in Alzheimer's) is 64 percent higher among Hispanics than among white, non-Hispanics.
  • Hispanics with diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease are more at risk for Alzheimer's but are less likely to receive adequate health care to monitor and control these conditions, often due to limited English skills.
  • More than one-fourth of Hispanics aged 50 to 64 with chronic conditions are without health insurance; thus, their health care spending is typically 40 percent lower than for non-Hispanics.

Furthermore, levels of education seem to play a role in determining Alzheimer's rates. Those with less education tend to be more at risk for Alzheimer's, and Hispanics typically have lower educational attainment than non-Hispanics.

Hispanics currently account for 12 percent of the United States population; by 2050, they are expected to account for 22 percent of the population, with 16 percent of them over the age of 65.

Source: Fred Tasker, "Alzheimer's in Hispanics Could Soar," Miami Herald, May 19, 2004; "Hispanics, Latinos and Alzheimer's disease," Alzheimer's Association, May 18, 2004.

 

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