American Heart Association Policy Statement
By 2030, you - and every U.S. taxpayer - could be paying $244 a year to care for heart failure patients, according to an American Heart Association policy statement.
The statement, published online in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Heart Failure, predicts:
The number of people with heart failure could climb 46 percent from 5 million in 2012 to 8 million in 2030.
Direct and indirect costs to treat heart failure could more than double from $31 billion in 2012 to $70 billion in 2030.
"If we don't improve or reduce the incidence of heart failure by preventing and treating the underlying conditions, there will be a large monetary and health burden on the country," said Paul A. Heidenreich, M.D., M.S., professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine and director of the Chronic Heart Failure Quality Enhancement Research Initiative at the VA Health Care System in Palo Alto, Calif.
"The costs will be paid for by every adult in this country, not just every adult with heart failure." The rising incidence is fueled by the aging population and an increase in the number of people with conditions like ischemic heart disease, hypertension and diabetes - contributors to the development of heart failure. Being older, a smoker, a minority or poor are also risk factors.
"Awareness of risk factors and adequately treating them is the greatest need," Heidenreich said.
Heart failure is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the heart has been weakened from heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and other underlying conditions, and can no longer pump enough oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood throughout the body.
Heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalization for Americans over age 65. Patients are often fatigued and have breathing problems, as the heart enlarges and pumps faster to try to meet the body's needs.
"Heart failure is a disease of the elderly," Heidenreich said. "Because our population is aging, it will become more common and the cost to treat heart failure will become a significant burden to the United States over the next 20 years unless something is done to reduce the age-specific incidence."
The statement includes recommendations on lessening the impact of heart failure and managing the rising number of Americans with the condition. These include: