The medical bill for Americans with heart disease is expected to triple in the next two decades, increasing to $818 billion in 2030 as the population ages, according to the American Heart Association.
The rising expense includes only the price of treatment, not the cost of lost time and productivity as patients and their partners miss work or other tasks, a policy paper published today in the association’s medical journal Circulation concluded. Heart disease now costs $273 billion a year in the U.S., or about 17 percent of the nation’s medical spending.
“These estimates don’t assume that we will continue to make new discoveries to reduce heart disease,” said Paul Heidenreich, a cardiologist at Stanford University and the leader of the heart group’s expert panel. “If our ability to prevent and treat heart disease stays where we are right now, costs will triple in 20 years just through demographic changes.”
Heart disease is the leading killer in the U.S., where one in three Americans suffers from a cardiovascular ailment such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and previous heart attack. The number affected is expected to rise to 41 percent by 2030, driven mainly by increases in rates of stroke and heart failure, the Dallas-based heart association said.
“Unhealthy behaviors and unhealthy environments have contributed to a tidal wave of risk factors among many Americans,” said Nancy Brown, the chief executive officer of the heart association. “Early intervention and evidence-based public policies are absolute musts to significantly reduce alarming rates of obesity, hypertension, tobacco use and cholesterol levels.”
A separate study released Jan. 12 estimated that the cost of cancer care in the U.S. may jump by two-thirds in the next decade, potentially to more than $200 billion due to higher drug prices and the aging of the population. Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the U.S., killing an estimated 570,000 Americans last year, according to the American Cancer Society based in Atlanta.