OCTOBER 12, 2023

Some people in minority ethnic groups with modifiable risk factors for dementia have a higher chance of developing the disease compared to white people, a new study finds.

The modifiable risk factors include obesity, diabetes, hypertension, sleep disorders and low levels of good high-density lipoprotein. The study was published in PLOS ONE on Wednesday. 

The team looked at the relationship between risk factors and dementia onset using data from England from 1997 to 2018. The data included 865,674 adults.

Of the people studied, 12.6% developed dementia. And of those who developed dementia, 16% were white, 8.6% were from South Asia, 12.1% were Black, and 9.7% were from other ethnic groups.

The researchers found there was a higher risk of dementia in Black people compared to white people. South Asian people had a higher risk for dementia if they had hypertension, obesity, diabetes, low HDL and sleep disorders. In fact, hypertension had 1.57 times more impact on dementia risk in South Asian people and 1.18 times more impact in Black people compared to white people.

This means that dementia prevention efforts should be targeted to people taking their race and ethnicity into account.

“We found that not only are some risk factors for dementia more common in minority ethnic groups but that the impact of some of these risk factors is even greater than in the white population. So we need tailored dementia prevention, taking into account ethnicity and risk factor profile to ensure dementia prevention is equitable,” the authors said.

2021 report found that Blacks who took part in Alzheimer’s disease research studies were 35% less likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and related dementias than whites. The findings were despite national statistics that showed Black Americans are about twice as likely than white people to develop dementia.


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