April 24, 2013 at 11:04 PM ET
Cases of heart failure – a chronic and expensive condition – are set to spike 46 percent by 2030, the American Heart Association projected on Wednesday.
As Americans get older, and more of us develop various heart conditions, the number of those with heart failure will rise from 5 million now to 8 million in 2030, the group says.
It’s a pricey condition to treat, and every American will end up paying $244 a year to care for people with the condition, through higher insurance rates and taxes, the Heart Association says.
“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 Dr. Paul Heidenreich of the Stanford University School of Medicine, who led the analysis published in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure.
“Direct and indirect costs to treat heart failure could more than double from $31 billion in 2012 to $70 billion in 2030,” the Heart Association, which publishes the journal, said in a statement.
“The costs will be paid for by every adult in this country, not just every adult with heart failure,” Heidenreich said.
Heart failure developes when the heart has been weakened from heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes or other conditions. As the heart struggles to pump, it can enlarge but it gets weaker. Fluid can build up around the heart, leaving patients tired and out of breath.
Half of all Medicare patients hospitalized for heart failure die within three years.
Treatments start out with cheap diuretics to get rid of the excess fluid, but it can quickly become expensive. Heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalization for Americans over age 65. More effective dissemination and use of guideline-recommended therapy to prevent heart failure and improve survival.
Patients and medical professionals alike need better information about how to treat the condition, the Heart Association said. Nurses, doctors, pharmacists and other professionals need specialized training, and certain ethnic groups, such as African-Americans, need targeted outreach.