A new report says at least 44,000 West Virginians are living with Alzheimer's disease, and that number could surpass 50,000 by 2025.
The Department of Health and Human Resources released the report Friday, updating one it did in 2005.
The Bureau for Public Health says Alzheimer's is by far the most diagnosed type of dementia, accounting for 80 percent of all cases.
By 2008, it says, dementia had become the fourth-leading cause of death in West Virginia.
The increase in mortality is partly attributable to a growing awareness of the illnesses, earlier diagnosis and the state's aging population.
While age is the key risk factor, the report says smoking, inactivity, obesity, high cholesterol and blood pressure, physical inactivity and diabetes could also contribute.
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