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Dementia and Mortality, America’s Silent Killer

If there is one thing that most elderly citizens fret, it is suffering from dementia. For many years, this condition that causes brain functions and memory loss has been classified as a nonfatal disease. Still, according to a study conducted by Boston University, dementia could be more fatal than we thought.

The Boston University study has shown that dementia could be the underlying cause of death in most patients. The researchers estimate is 13.6 percent and not 5 percent as it has been witnessed nationally. According to the lead study author, Dr. Andrew Stokes, it is important to have a proper understanding as to what people die so that priorities can be set and resource allocation can be done appropriately.

When it comes to dementia, getting an accurate number of deaths is a bit challenging. Why? Firstly, there are no routine tests conducted on dementia patients during primary care, and secondly, there is stigma. The research results have also shown that the mortality burden of dementia is greater than what is in the public domain. This only means one thing: there is a need to expand on how dementia can be prevented and how patients can be cared for properly.

The research did not only dwell on the numbers but also looked at persons’ susceptibility in terms of ethnicity. This is unfortunate, but the Boston study has revealed that dementia related deaths among the Hispanics and African Americans are rarely recorded compared to those of their Caucasian counterparts. What are the actual figures, according to this study?

2.3 older Caucasians die due to dementia-related deaths

7.1 more African Americans die due to dementia-related deaths

4.1 older Hispanics also die due to dementia-related deaths

Apart from the figures above, it should be noted that dementia-related deaths among men are rarely reported.

There is a major problem because underestimating dementia deaths among minority ethnicities means that resources need to be realigned to cater to dementia patients among blacks and Hispanics.

During this study, 7,342 older adults living in nursing homes participated.

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