Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia in seniors. Alzheimer’s disease affects an estimated 6.5 million Americans. It is the seventh leading cause of death among all adults and the fifth leading cause of death among people 65 and older.
Common early symptoms include the inability to recall recent conversations, names, or events, as well as apathy and depression. Later signs include trouble speaking, getting lost, being confused, having poor judgment, shifting how one thinks or behaves, and eventually having difficulty speaking, swallowing, and walking.
The Alzheimer’s Association has found that Alzheimer’s disease is becoming a silent epidemic among African-Americans, which is a new public health concern.
Action Is Needed
First, to speed up research on Alzheimer’s disease in African-Americans and find effective ways to treat and prevent the disease. Second, to make African-Americans more aware of Alzheimer’s, get them more involved in research, and give services and treatments to people with the disease. Third, services such as assessment, diagnosis, and care that are affordable and culturally sensitive must be developed and promoted.
A stroke is a disease of the central nervous system that affects the nerves. It is frequently caused when a blood artery that transports oxygenated blood to the brain clogs or bursts. When this occurs, oxygen-rich blood in the blocked or fractured blood vessel cannot reach the brain and destroys brain cells. A stroke is a type of “brain attack.” Stroke is the fifth largest cause of death in the United States, with one occurring every 40 seconds on average.
There are several different kinds of stroke, such as ischemic, hemorrhagic, transient ischemic attack (TIA), cryptogenic, and stroke of the brain stem. Brain damage can impact how the body functions. It can also alter your thoughts and emotions. The effects of a stroke depend on where it happens in the brain and how big the damaged area is. A stroke is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment. Brain injury and other consequences can be mitigated by prompt intervention.
Black Americans are more likely to have a stroke and die from one than people of any other race. Those with diabetes and ischemic strokes, which are caused by clots, are more likely to be Black. Also, Black people who have had a stroke are more likely to be disabled and have trouble with daily tasks. No matter your race, the signs and symptoms of stroke can be different depending on what part of your brain is impacted.
Epilepsy is a condition of the central nervous system (neurological) that causes abnormal brain activity, resulting in seizures or episodes of unusual behavior, feelings, and, in some cases, loss of awareness.
Anyone can develop epilepsy. Epilepsy can happen to men and women of any race, background, or age.
The symptoms of seizures can be very different. Some people with epilepsy stare blankly for a few seconds during a seizure, while others repeatedly twitch their arms or legs. Even if you have one seizure, that does not mean you have epilepsy. Epilepsy is typically diagnosed when a person has at least two seizures that don’t have a known cause and happen at least 24 hours apart.
Each year, an estimated 25,000 African Americans are diagnosed with a new case of epilepsy in the United States. Access to quality healthcare is a critical issue for numerous African Americans with epilepsy. Fear, stigma, misperceptions, and prejudice are significant obstacles that make it difficult for African Americans with epilepsy and their families to enjoy full, healthy lives. Education is the key to altering attitudes and encouraging individuals with epilepsy to seek treatment.
TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the leading cause of cognitive and brain health problems in the United States, affecting millions of people each year. According to the CDC, TBI accounts for 30% of all brain injury deaths.
A sudden hit or blow to the head can cause a traumatic brain injury. Additionally, TBI can be induced by a skull puncture, which affects normal brain functioning. The magnitude and force applied to the head are used to assess and diagnose traumatic brain injury.There are two types of brain injuries: mild and moderate-to-severe.
Approximately 1.7 million people in the United States have a TBI. Older teens (15–19 years old) and older adults (65 years and older) are the most likely to suffer from a TBI. African Americans have the highest rate of brain injury of any ethnic group, with African American men 1.5 times more likely than African American women to sustain TBI. As a result, data suggests that African Americans are dying at a higher rate from TBI.
The best ways to avoid traumatic brain injury are to wear a seat belt when driving a car, wear a helmet when riding a bike or motorcycle, check your surroundings for potential dangers, and avoid driving heavy machines while under the influence of drugs or alcohol that could alter your mental state.
Treatment for traumatic brain injury focuses on repairing any damage and managing the indications and symptoms that have arisen.
MENTAL HEALTH & WELLNESS
Our emotional, psychological, and social well-being comprise our mental health. It impacts our thoughts, feelings, and actions. It also influences how we respond to stress, interact with others, and make decisions. According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, Black adults in the United States are more likely than white adults to report persistent symptoms of emotional distress, such as feeling sad and like everything is hard. Black adults living below the poverty line are more than twice as likely to experience severe psychological distress than those with greater financial stability.
As with other groups of color, the Black community is more susceptible to socioeconomic disparities such as exclusion from health, educational, social, and economic resources. These discrepancies can have a negative impact on mental health outcomes.
Even though there is a need, only one out of every three Black adults with mental illness receives help. When a person is having difficulties with their mental health, it is important that they receive quality care as soon as the symptoms are recognized. Equally important is that the care a patient receives is given by culturally competent medical professionals.
PTSD (POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER)
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health illness triggered by either witnessing or experiencing a terrifying event. It is a long-term mental health response to trauma, which can be a one-time traumatic event like a sexual assault or a recurring problem like living in a violent home. Trauma that leads to PTSD is not always caused by war or a violent attack; it can also be caused by the daily discrimination that people of color face.
Symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, extreme anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts about the traumatic experience. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms can start as soon as a month after a traumatic event, but sometimes they don’t show up for years.
PTSD symptoms usually fall into four categories:
● Intrusive memories
● Negative changes in thinking and mood
● Changes in physical and emotional reactions
The symptoms of a disease can change over time or from one person to another. Usually, a psychiatrist will look at your signs and symptoms to make a diagnosis.