Throughout the year, our blog will feature AHA volunteer stories of survival and hope. We know there are thousands of stories like these - thats why we want to say “Thanks” to all of you for giving your time and sharing your lives with us. You can’t spell CURE without U! Thank you for all you do to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. YOU’RE THE CURE!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Nancy Brown: CVD cost will triple in next 20 years

The cost to treat heart disease in the United States will triple by 2030, according to an American Heart Association policy statement presented by Nancy Brown on Jan. 24 in Washington, D.C. The statement calls for effective prevention strategies to limit the growing cost burden, which accounts for 17 percent of national health expenditures.

The projected $545 billion increase is due in part to an aging population, according to the report. Cardiovascular disease is more prevalent in people older than 65. Another cost factor is an increase in risk factors such as obesity.

"If there's a silver lining in these figures, it is that they are projections," Brown said. "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."
According to the statement, 36.9 percent of Americans already have some form of cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke and other conditions. By 2030 this is expected to reach 40.5 percent.

Paul Heidenreich, M.D., chair of the AHA expert panel issuing the statement, said the study didn't double count costs for patients with multiple cardiovascular conditions. Heidenreich added that the study "didn't assume that we will continue to make new discoveries to reduce heart disease." If our ability to prevent and treat heart disease stays where we are right now, he said, the projected cost increase will occur just through demographic changes in the population.

Watch video clips from Nancy Brown's Natl. Press Club presentation.

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