Untreated Diabetes, Hypertension Linked to Higher Rate of Dementia in Latinos, Study Finds
Older Latinos have a 50% higher rate of dementia than whites as a result of their higher rate of diabetes and hypertension, for which they often do not receive treatment, according to a new study scheduled for release next month, the Sacramento Bee reports. In the study, part of the Sacramento Area Latino Study of Aging, or SALSA, researchers examined about 1,800 Latino women ages 60 and older to find an explanation for the higher rate of dementia in Latinos. The study found that 85% of participants had undiagnosed "early dementia," although most had health insurance and a primary care provider. Mary Haan, lead author of the study and former director of the Center for Aging and Health at the University of California-Davis, attributed the results to a lack of access to health care and a "lack of screening for dementia" in minority ethnic communities. The study, which Haan will discuss on Saturday at the Latino Healthy Aging Summit in Sacramento, found that about half of the dementia cases occurred in Latinos with diabetes, hypertension or a history of stroke. The study also found that the risk of dementia was eight times higher for Latinos with Type II diabetes, and the risk of Alzheimer's disease was twice as high for those with diabetes. Ann Albright, head of the state's Diabetes Control Program, said, "It is now another serious complication that people with diabetes have to worry about." The study will appear in the October issue of the Journal of the American Geriatric Society (Weaver Teichert, Sacramento Bee, 9/26).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.