Driven by population aging, the world's biggest killer is predicted to affect 45% of the US population in some form by 2035
In 2012 17.5 million people died from cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), which accounted for 31% of all deaths. It is the most prolific disease worldwide and fells over 600,000 people alone every year in the US. In 2011, researchers made a projection that 100 million American citizens would suffer from CVD in some form by 2030. This in fact happened in 2015, highlighting just how severe our situation is - spurred on by demographic aging and relatively poor preventative strategies.
"Mostly driven by the aging of the population, the prevalence and costs of cardiovascular disease are expected to increase significantly in the next 20 years with total costs reaching over a $1.1 trillion by 2035"
A wake up call
The latest study data forecasts that by 2035 a whopping 123.2 million Americans will suffer from high blood pressure, 11.2 million will have suffered stroke complications, 24 million will have coronary artery disease, and 7.2 million will display atrial fibrillation. To add to this, African American individuals are predicted to have the highest rates of CVD, followed by those of hispanic heritage. Exactly why this is the case wasn't well examined. As ever, men are are greater risk than women. Perhaps more strikingly, the statistics suggest that an average person's risk of CVD symptoms is about 80% by the age of 65.
A hefty price tag
If these figures alone weren't worrying enough, the cost is ever rising. CVDs cost the US $555 billion in 2016, and if these new projections hold true the total cost is estimated to eclipse $1 trillion by 2035. This is in the US alone. The data also brings to light a deficiency in preparation and investment, as heart disease research only takes up 4% of NIH funding, whereas stroke just makes 1%. Considering both together account for 23% of all deaths, the funding begins to appear somewhat deficient.
It is important to note that lifestyle changes can make a significant impact on CVD risk and onset, and that a general preventative medical model could save many thousands of lives by providing individuals with early warning signs and prompts to change behaviour. On top of this, the predictions really bring home just how important dealing with the underlying cause of CVD and age-related disease in general is. If we do not get on top of this and begin tackling the problems posed by aging world head on, we leave ourselves open to later crises, suffering and economic burden.
"While we have made tremendous progress in fighting cardiovascular disease, recently reported death rates and these projections reinforce that now is not the time to relax. We must continue to be vigilant, because if these projections become reality, a serious health and economic crisis is on the horizon. The association welcomes the opportunity to work with Congress and the new administration to find ways to wipe out the burden of cardiovascular disease and build an improved culture of health in our country"
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