America’s costliest disease
A report released by the American Heart Association indicates that by 2035, heart disease will cost the U.S. $1.1 trillion, according to HealthDay News reported. The U.S. will spend $749 billion in direct medical costs treating heart-related diseases in 2035 — more than double the $318 billion now spent annually, according to the AHA report. Indirect costs tied to lost productivity also drive costs up by another$368 billion.
According to the news article by Dennis Thompson, “The new study projects that by 2035:
- More than 123 million Americans will have high blood pressure.
- 24 million will have coronary heart disease.
- More than 11 million will have had a stroke.
- Almost 9 million will have congestive heart failure.
- More than 7 million will have atrial fibrillation, a dangerous heart rhythm disorder.”
In the HealthDay News article, AHA president Steven Houser, associate dean of research at Temple University, said 2011 calculations, which projected 40% of the U.S. population would have some form of heart disease by 2030, were incorrect. “We reached that benchmark in 2015 — almost 15 years sooner than we anticipated,” Houser said in the article.
The new calculations, according to the AHA’s latest study, states that “by 2035, nearly half of the U.S. population will have some form of cardiovascular disease.”
Within the 14-page AHA report, “Cardiovascular Disease: A Costly Burden for America Projections Through 2035,” researchers stated, “Cardiovascular disease not only exacts a heavy toll on the health of Americans, its economic burden is enormous. Right now it is America’s costliest disease, and this price tag will soar in the coming decades.”
Research on prevention and treatment
They added that “Robust NIH-funded heart and stroke research is our country’s best hope to discover innovative ways to prevent, treat and ultimately develop cures for heart disease and stroke.”
In July 2016, the American Heart Association, partnering with Amazon Web Services, announced a nearly $5 million initiative which includes more than a dozen data research grants including fellowships.
“Fourteen grants will be awarded over the next year to foster cross-disciplinary learning, enabling the scientific, mathematics and technology communities to come together in support of precision cardiovascular medicine,” an AHA press release stated.
“The promise of precision cardiovascular medicine and care can be realized when research and technology come together to deliver new insights,” AHA CEO Nancy Brown said in the news release. “The AHA and AWS collaboration will unite the global research community to accelerate discovery in cardiovascular health and usher in a new era of tailored prevention and treatment that will help patients and lessen the global burden of cardiovascular disease.”
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization launched its Global Hearts Initiative in September 2016 to reduce the threat of cardiovascular disease, the No. 1 cause of death worldwide. Three targeted efforts address salt intake, tobacco use and the prevention of heart attacks and strokes through standardized and quality care.
“Reducing demand for tobacco products and content of salt in foods can help millions of people avoid unnecessary death and suffering from cardiovascular disease,” Douglas Bettcher, WHO Director for Prevention of NCDs, stated in an article published on the WHO website. “This can also be a major cost saving for resource-strapped governments by avoiding unnecessary healthcare costs.”
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