Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging. It is a degenerative neurological disease of the brain. That is why early detection is so critical. Because African Americans in the United States have higher rates of vascular disease, they also may be at greater risk for developing Alzheimer’s. According to a growing body of evidence, risk factors for vascular disease—including diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol—may also be risk factors for Alzheimer’s and stroke related-dementia.