MONDAY, Jan. 24 (HealthDay News) -- The cost of treating heart
disease and stroke in the United States is expected to triple in
the next 20 years, to $818 billion, a new report says.
According to the American Heart Association, which issued the
policy statement, this $545 billion increase in costs for treating
heart disease and stroke is largely due to the aging of the
"The burden of heart disease and stroke on the U.S. health care system will be substantial and will limit our ability to care for the U.S. population unless we can take steps now to prevent cardiovascular disease," said Dr. Paul Heidenreich, an associate professor of medicine at Stanford Medical School and chair of the American Heart Association panel issuing the policy statement.
The policy statement was published in the Jan. 24 online edition
This dramatic increase in costs was based on the current rate of
heart disease adjusted for changes in the overall age of Americans
and the anticipated racial mix of patients. Moreover, these
estimates didn't take into account the additional costs for those
who have more than one condition, or new treatments that might come
along, the researchers noted.
To curb this rise in costs, the panel said that "effective
prevention strategies are needed if we are to limit the growing
burden of cardiovascular disease."
American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown said in a news
release that "unhealthy behaviors and unhealthy environments have
contributed to a tidal wave of risk factors among many Americans.
Early intervention and evidence-based public policies are absolute
musts to significantly reduce alarming rates of obesity,
hypertension, tobacco use and cholesterol levels."
Right now, 36.9 percent of Americans have some type of heart
disease, including high blood pressure, coronary heart disease,
heart failure, stroke and other conditions. By 2030, that number
will rise to 40.5 percent of the population, or about 116 million
people, according to the report.
The biggest increases are thought to be in stroke, up 24.9
percent, and heart failure, up 25 percent.
Between 2010 and 2030, the cost of caring for patients with
heart disease will go from $273 billion to $818 billion, the panel
In addition, heart disease will cost billions more in lost
productivity, increasing from about $172 billion in 2010 to $276
billion in 2030. These losses include days missed from work or home
tasks because of illness, plus lost earnings due to premature
"Cost of care will grow markedly unless we can either reduce the prevalence of cardiovascular disease or find less expensive ways to deliver current care," Heidenreich said.
"There are several targets for prevention including reduced salt intake and better control of risk factors -- for example, hypertension -- that would make an important impact if successful," he added.
Commenting on the policy statement, Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, a
professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los
Angeles, said that "cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of
death of men and women in the United States, yet cardiovascular
disease and many of these deaths could be prevented."
Fonarow suggested that "population-based strategies are urgently
needed to improve cardiovascular health, prevent or delay the onset
of cardiovascular disease, and help to address the projected rise
in expenditures. Implementing effective health promotion and
cardiovascular disease prevention needs to become a national
priority," he said.
There are also a number of low-cost, high-value cardiovascular
protective therapies that are available but are underutilized in
routine clinical care that could also help to reduce the burden of
cardiovascular disease, he added.
These include keeping blood pressure and cholesterol under
control, not smoking and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which
means eating a healthy diet, getting exercise and keeping your
weight down. These strategies have been proven to substantially
reduce the risk of heart disease.
For more information on heart disease, visit the
U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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