Black people are at a higher risk of dementia but less likely to be diagnosed than white people, a report has found.
The occurrence of dementia diagnosis was 25% higher among black women than white women, and 28% higher among black men than white men according to scientists from University College London and King’s College London.
The study published in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology is reportedly the first to compare the rate of dementia diagnosis by ethnicity and gender.
Lead author Dr Claudia Cooper told ITV News that knowing their diagnosis “empowers” people.
She said the study “tells us something about what we need to try and change about the service that black people are getting.”
Dr Cooper added: “It [the study] says that black people are not getting diagnosed if they’re living with dementia as commonly as white people.
“And that’s a problem because we know that if you have a diagnosis, it empowers you to decide on your own treatment, to make decisions about the future and perhaps to access research studies and to access treatment.
Jazz Brownie, chief executive of Nubian life – a charity that provides day care for older African and African Caribbean people – said the current offering of services don’t meet people’s needs “culturally.”
She said: “We have a number of families who contact us for support, at the beginning of their parents being diagnosed or even those who have had their diagnosis for a while, but not able to access services that meet their need culturally.”
Researchers arrived at their conclusion after analysing data from 2,511,681 people, including 66,083 who had a dementia diagnosis.
The second part looked at what the occurrence of dementia would be within the minority groups if everyone with dementia in the black minority groups got a diagnosis.
Co-author Dr Tra My Pham said: “What we found suggests that the rates of people receiving a diagnosis may be lower than the actual rates of dementia in certain groups, particularly among black men.
“It is concerning that black people appear to be more at risk of dementia but less likely to receive a timely diagnosis.”