Pavilion Health Today
Supporting healthcare professionals to deliver the best patient care

Black and South Asian adults with dementia at increased risk of poor outcomes

Black and South Asian UK adults with dementia are more likely to experience poorer outcomes and are typically diagnosed at a younger age than White UK adults, according to new research.

Black and South Asian UK adults with dementia are more likely to experience poorer outcomes and are typically diagnosed at a younger age than White UK adults, according to new research.

The authors of the study, published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia, say that the increased risk of dementia among these groups is part of a pattern of broader health disparities.

They are therefore calling for further action to target known risks factors of dementia, in addition to work to reduce health inequalities across the board.

Black and South Asian people with dementia die younger than White people with dementia

To conduct the research, the authors studied primary care and hospital health records in the UK from 1997 to 2018, incorporating data from more than 662,000 people aged over 65.

Around one in 10 (11.8%) UK adults aged 65 and over were found to have dementia. After controlling for factors such as age, sex and socioeconomic status, Black people had a 22% higher incidence of dementia recorded than White people.

While recorded incidence in the South Asian population was 17% below the average, this group were found die three years younger on average compared to the White people studied. Black people were found to die 2.7 years younger than White people.

Black and South Asian people also had a younger average age at dementia diagnosis compared to White people.

Number of people living with dementia expected to double by 2050

The researchers say that the findings could be explained by the higher prevalence of dementia risk factors (such as hypertension, diabetes, and obesity) in these groups.

They add that the significantly higher prevalence of dementia in these groups likely points to an under-capture of minority ethnic diagnoses of dementia, as black or South Asian people with more mild cases might not be receiving treatment.

Lead author Dr Naaheed Mukadam (UCL Psychiatry) said a campaign targeted at healthcare professionals is now needed so that they are able to inform their patients who are at increased risk, and what steps they can take to reduce this risk.

“As the UK population ages, the number of people living with dementia is expected to increase from just below one million now to over two million by the middle of the century, so it’s vital that we ensure that everyone at risk of dementia has access to the best care possible.

“A targeted campaign could inform health professionals about the disparities, helping them to better inform their patients about the risks of dementia, and could ensure that healthcare providers are culturally sensitive and able to reach all members of their local community that need support,” he said.

Targeted efforts to reduce health inequalities needed

Dr Mukadam and Dr Livingston say that people in ethnic minority communities may also be less likely to seek treatment for memory problems, perhaps due to stigma around dementia, or other barriers to accessing timely and effective care.

For this reason, they are now working on developing and testing a programme to reduce dementia risk in minority ethnic communities.

They are working on consultation with different groups in those communities, and call for more targeted efforts to improve the health of all groups in the UK.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read more ...

Privacy & Cookies Policy