African Americans at greater risk of Alzheimer's disease

African Americans are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease compared to any other racial groups, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

The reason why is still unclear.

"There's not enough statistics. We don't know. Is it lifestyle? Is it environment? Is it socio-economic?" said Hadi Finerty, of the Alzheimer's Association - Illinois chapter.

Experts say contributing factors can be high blood pressure and diabetes, but with so few African American people participating in clinical research studies, it's hard to determine what's playing a role.

Lynn Watkins-Asiyanbi's mother was physically healthy when she noticed she was having trouble remembering things.

Her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's at age 77, and died recently at 82-years-old.

"It's the most horrible disease ever for someone to live through and live with," Watkins-Asiyanbi said.

Watkins-Asiyanbi, a Chicago attorney, said her mother's death has been difficult. Her parents were married over five decades and her 85-year-old dad is still struggling with the loss.

"It's a family disease because it not only impacts one person, it impacts the entire family," she said.

Now, Watkins-Asiyanbi worries that the brain disease could also affect her someday.

"It is what it is. God's fate is what he has planned for us already," she said.
Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.