As they age, Black adults experience more rapid decline in the body’s ability to recover from stress or damage, with social and economic factors contributing to this decline.
Paola Scommegna and Mark Mather of the Population Reference Bureau, discuss assorted findings that U.S. racial health disparities among older adults remain despite some progress. Findings based on research from USC researchers Uchechi A. Mitchell, Jennifer A. Ailshire, and Eileen M. Crimmins, along with Scott M. Lynch (Duke), Miles G. Taylor, and Stephanie Ureña.
“Risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke increase among Black adults as they age because of poor blood pressure control and diabetes prevention, Mitchell, Ailshire, and Crimmins show. Using Health and Retirement Study (HRS) data, they examine changes in health risks for diabetes, heart disease, and stroke measured by multiple cardiovascular and metabolic biomarkers. The researchers find that older Black adults began the study with a higher number of risk factors than older white and Hispanic adults, and their risk increased over four years, driven by increases in pulse pressure (a measure of stiffening arteries) and blood glucose (an indicator of diabetes).
As they age, Black adults experience more rapid physiological dysregulation, a decline in the body’s ability to recover from stress or damage. Lifestyle and health care factors only explain a fraction of this difference, the researchers note.”
This article is an excerpt from issue 41 of Today’s Research on Aging.