Background and Purpose: Hypertension, prediabetes and type 2 diabetes are major risk factors for stroke, particularly among elderly African Americans (AAs). However, whether there are racial differences in the characteristics of patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) are unknown. The purpose of this study is to explore racial differences in MCI, blood pressure and glucose levels among older AAs and White Americans (WAs).
Methods: We recruited 79 free living older adults (>65 years) (40 AAs and 39 WAs). Cognitive impairment was measured using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA). We defined MCI as MoCA score between 18-26. In addition, systolic and diastolic blood pressure and hemoglobin A1C (A1C) were obtained in each participant.
Results: The mean age of our group was 71.4±5.0 years and body mass index 29.1±5.9 kg/m2. The AAs were younger than WAs (70.3±5.1 vs. 72.4±4.7 years, p=0.06), there were no difference in body mass index (29.1±5.9 vs 27.7±5.4kg/m2, p=0.26). We found racial differences in MCI between our AA and WA participants. The AAs in our group had significantly lower MoCA scores compared to WAs (21±4.3 vs 25.5±3.2, p=0.0004). In addition, the systolic blood pressure (137.4±17.1 vs.128.25±14.9 mmHg, p=0.01) and diastolic blood pressure (77.3±10.8 vs.72.9±9 mmHg, p=0.05) were statistically higher in our AAs compared to WAs. Finally, the A1C was statistically higher in our AA vs. WA participants (5.8±0.4 vs. 5.5±0.29%, p=0.001).
Conclusions: Our pilot data clearly demonstrates racial differences in MCI. Our study confirms that AAs with MCI are younger, have higher blood pressure and A1C levels when compared to WAs. Therefore, future studies are warranted to determine whether treatment of blood pressure and dysglycemia can reverse MCI in older AAs.