The West Virginia Alzheimer's Disease Registry collects information concerning Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders among West Virginians. It acts as a central information database for policy, planning and research concerning Alzheimer's disease and related disorders.
The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that every 67 seconds someone in America develops Alzheimer’s Disease.
36,000 people in West Virginia were estimated to have Alzheimer’s Disease in 2014 and by 2025 there will be an estimated 25% increase in Alzheimer’s Disease in the state.
West Virginia is particularly vulnerable to an increased incidence of Alzheimer’s Disease because it has one of the oldest populations in the country and the risk factors for Alzheimer’s Disease such as heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking and high blood pressure are all higher in West Virginia than the national average. This is borne out by the state hospitalization rates for patients with Alzheimer’s Disease which was 68% higher than national average in 2001 and the rate of dementia mortality was 38% higher than the national average. However, many of these statistics are only estimates and are often outdated. There is therefore a strong need for a more accurate and timely assessment of the incidence and prevalence of Alzheimer’s Disease and related disorders in West Virginia.
This need becomes even clearer when the estimated financial burden of the disease is taken into account. The national per patient lifetime cost for Alzheimer’s Disease care is currently estimated at $175,000. With approximately 36,000 West Virginians thought to have Alzheimer’s Disease, the cost over the lifetime of the disease is in excess of $7 billion. If estimations are accurate, the economic impact by 2025 will be in excess of $9 billion.
One proven way to collect information about the number of people in West Virginia with Alzheimer’s Disease and related disorders is with a population-based disease registry. This has been borne out by two other comprehensive population-based Alzheimer’s Disease Registries in the United States – the Alzheimer’s Disease Registry in South Carolina and the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia State Registry in Georgia.