Cost of treating heart disease projected to triple
January 24th, 2011
02:57 PM ET

Cost of treating heart disease projected to triple

The cost of treating heart disease is projected to triple by 2030, according to a new study from the American Heart Association.

Researchers predict the cost of medical care for heart disease will rise from $273 billion to $818 billion between 2010 and 2030. "The fact that it would go up threefold over the course of 20 years was unexpected," says lead study author Dr. Paul Heidenreich. "We can take steps to reduce it, if we take steps to prevent cardiovascular disease."

The American Heart Association estimates more than 80 million people in the United States have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease.

"We're getting older and living longer which is good, but there is also a requirement for caring for these people as they age," says Heidenreich.  Dr. Laurence S. Sperling, founder and director of preventive cardiology at the Emory Clinic, agrees with Heidenreich. Sperling suggests investing more in preventing heart disease.  "That investment can't be on the back end," he says. "You can't start trying to prevent the disease after the heart attack."

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and stroke is the third leading cause of death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers project heart disease will also cost the nation billions  in lost productivity due to missed days of work from illness.  "A lot of people are not as aware as they should be of heart risk and lifetime risk and so it's important for the medical community to raise awareness for individuals," says Sperling.

Researchers looked at the current rates of disease as well as census data and projected population shifts in age and race. The study found with the anticipated rise of the Hispanic population in the United States, prevention programs have to be designed in multiple ways.  Sperling says one-size-fits-all will not work in this case.

Programs like the YMCA diabetes program help reduce overall costs of health care and deliver results says Ken Thorpe, professor of health policy at Emory University, who studies health care costs. "The evidence is there. The challenge is to find ways to scale and replicate those programs."

soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Booger Sandwich

    Thanks to ObamaCare, his additional failed policies and regulations.

    January 24, 2011 at 14:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. foodtreemd

    Unfortunately, we always forget to mention why these numbers are so. Heart disease is linearly related to intake of sugar. W e pretend these statistics are as much destiny as day light showing up every morning. At best we get stuck stuck discussing cholesterol, which shows up in plaque and gets blamed.
    So what will it be, broke and blame or let the real problem stand up and deal with it?
    Ranveig Elvebakk, MD Bariatric specialist and Author of "The Food Tree"

    January 25, 2011 at 16:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Shelly

    Of course to a teabaggers this is all Obama's fault. You see Obama created heart disease.

    January 30, 2011 at 22:22 | Report abuse | Reply
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