As the general age of the population continues to increase, so will cases of heart failure and, inevitably, the amount spent on treatment, according to a report the American Heart Association (AHA) published Wednesday in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure.
In all, assuming that the current rates of heart failure among specific demographics hold, the report estimates that by 2030, 8 million people, or 1 out of every 33 individuals, living in the United States will suffer heart failure.
Should the rate of rising costs and technological innovation remain steady as well, the report further estimates that total direct costs spent on treating the disease will increase from $21 billion to $53 billion between now and then – a number that triples when all costs of cardiac care for heart failure patients are assumed.
The report predicts a 29 percent increase of the disease within the black community, from 2.8 percent to 3.6 percent, whereas white Hispanic and other non-Hispanic, nonblack patients will likely stand around 2.3 percent and 2.4 percent respectively by 2030.
The most important risk factor for heart failure, according to the AHA, is ischemic heart disease, also known as coronary heart disease, and is characterized by a decrease in blood flow and thus oxygen to the heart due to narrowed heart arteries. While it can cause chest pain, the AHA warns that many Americans may have ischemic episodes without knowing it.
Having an exercise stress test or wearing a Holter monitor for 24-48 hours are among the most common ways to diagnose the problem.
Other contributing factors to heart failure are hypertension, diabetes, mellitus, insulin resistance, obesity and smoking.
For this reason, the AHA recommends that, in order to prevent and reduce heart failure as well as its costs, prevention-based programs and guidelines for hypertension, cholesterol, smoking and physical activity should be implemented either by the AHA alone, or in partnership with the American College of Cardiology.
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