Blacks more likely to have Alzheimer's disease, experts say

INDIANAPOLIS - Of the 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer's disease, African-Americans are twice as likely to have it, medical experts say.

Doris Wood, 87, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease 12 years ago and lives in a nursing home.Her husband lives in an apartment next door. Their 58-year-old daughter Anita Gaillard said she lives with the knowledge that she may be prone to having Alzheimer's just like her mother. Gaillard said her mother has daily challenges  with memory loss, misplacing things and solving problems.

Neurologist Meg Frazier said that there are warning signs to alert you of the onset of the disease.

"You can start in your 30s, 40s and early 50s with blood pressure control.  Also, watch for signs of diabetes and going in for preventative health checks. Getting your blood work checked and exercising your mind is also tremendously important" Dr. Frazier said.

Her message was heard crystal clear by Wood's daughter.

"I'm doing lots of exercise. I've lost 50 pounds and I have been managing my weight. I've been working on brain games and puzzles to keep me active. I've been reading up on it and finding out all I possibly can for myself and my family. 

For more information on the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer's and available resources, call the Alzheimer's Association Hotline at 1-800-272-3900.

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