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Heart Disease Treatment Cost Predicted to Triple in U.S. by 2030

The American Heart Association reported that the cost to treat heart disease in the United States will triple by the year 2030. Between 2010 and 2030, the cost of medical care for heart disease will rise from $273 billion to $818 billion. That’s an increase of $545 billion. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and makes up 17 percent of the country’s total health care expenditures, according to the AHA.

“Despite the successes in reducing and treating heart disease over the last half century, even if we just maintain our current rates, we will have an enormous financial burden on top of the disease itself,” said Paul Heidenreich, M.D., chair of the AHA expert panel that wrote a policy statement published in the journal, Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

To conduct the research, the panel estimated future medical costs based on the current rates of disease and used Census data to adjust for anticipated population shifts in age and race. The results assume that there will not be new advances in heart disease treatment that could lower costs. Rather, they take into account demographics changes in the U.S. population.

The panel urged the importance of preventing heart disease to lower costs and decrease deaths. For example, over 12 million people suffer from coronary artery disease and over half a million people experience heart attacks each year.

“Unhealthy behaviors and unhealthy environments have contributed to a tidal wave of risk factors among many Americans,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of the AHA, in the association’s news release. “Early intervention and evidence-based public policies are absolute musts to significantly reduce alarming rates of obesity, hypertension, tobacco use and cholesterol levels.”

According to the AHA, 1 in 3 Americans (36.9 percent) have some form of heart disease, including high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke and other conditions. By 2030, the AHA expert panel predicted that approximately 116 million people in the United States (40.5 percent) will have some form of cardiovascular disease, the panel said.  The largest increases are anticipated in stroke (up 24.9 percent) and heart failure (up 25 percent).

Between 2010-30, the cost of medical care for heart disease (in 2008 dollar values) will rise from $273 billion to $818 billion, the authors predicted. “We were all surprised at the remarkable increase in costs that are expected in the next two decades,” Heidenreich said in the news release. “We need to continue to invest resources in the prevention of disease, the treatment of risk factors and early treatment of existing disease to reduce that burden.”