British South Asians with dementia are at higher risk of early death than their white British counterparts, new research has revealed.
According to the findings of the study, South Asian people with dementia die 2.97 years younger and black people 2.66 years younger than white Britons with similar conditions.
The research conducted by academics of University College London (UCL) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine covered the 21-year health records of 662,882 people aged more than 65 between 1997 and 2018.
It found that dementia rates have increased across all ethnic groups. Black people are 22 per cent more likely to get dementia than their white peers, while it is 17 per cent less common among those of South Asian backgrounds.
The study published in the medical journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia discovered that South Asian and black people are diagnosed younger, survive for less time and die younger than white people.
“The earlier age of dementia diagnosis in people of black and south Asian [origin] … may be related to the higher prevalence of some risk factors for dementia such as, in older south Asians, fewer years of education, and in both groups hypertension [high blood pressure], diabetes and obesity,” the researchers wrote in their paper reported by the Guardian.
“Black and south Asian people survived for less time after dementia diagnosis and they died at a younger age,” Dr Naaheed Mukadam of UCL’s division of psychiatry and five others wrote.
“Overall, our findings show black and south Asian patients are diagnosed with dementia at a younger age and die at a younger age with dementia than white patients, losing more years of life,” they said.
On black and south Asian people dying sooner than white people, Mukadam said: “We do not know if earlier death after dementia diagnosis is because dementia is picked up at a later stage in minority ethnic groups and therefore people decline faster, if underlying risk factors in these groups contribute to worse overall health or if there is a difference in post-diagnostic support that results in these differences.”