Study projects that by 2035, cardiovascular disease, the most costly and prevalent killer, if left unchecked, will place a crushing economic and health burden on the nation's financial and health care systems.
The study was conducted by RTI International for the American Heart Association.
‘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.’
According to the study, in the next two decades, the number of Americans with cardiovascular disease will rise to 131.2 million - 45 percent of the total U.S. population - with costs expected to reach $1.1 trillion.
"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," said Olga Khavjou, economist in RTI's public health economics program and lead author of the study.
The new projections are an update of those made by the association in 2011 that estimated around 100 million Americans would suffer from cardiovascular disease by 2030. Unfortunately, that prediction came true in 2015 - almost 15 years sooner than anticipated. That same year, the death rate from heart disease rose by 1 percent for the first time since 1969. This latest study projects that by 2035, there will be:
123.2 million Americans with high blood pressure
24 million coronary heart disease patients
11.2 million suffering from stroke
7.2 million Americans with atrial fibrillation
Some other key findings:
By age 45, your cardiovascular disease risk is 50 percent, at 65 it jumps to 80 percent
Black Americans will have the highest rates of cardiovascular disease by 2035, followed by Hispanics
Men will suffer from cardiovascular disease at a greater rate than women between now and 2035
RTI researchers conducted the analysis and developed the methodology for generating these projections.
In addition to the staggering human toll it takes on Americans' lives and health, cardiovascular disease wreaks havoc on our economy. Currently, cardiovascular disease is the costliest disease in our nation, with a price tag of $555 billion in 2016. Yet, today's study suggests that the economic burden of cardiovascular disease will only get worse. By 2035, costs will be in the trillions. Specifically, the total cardiovascular disease costs across all conditions are projected to more than triple among those age 80+ and more than double among those ages 65-79.
The report breaks out the total cost into direct and indirect costs. Direct medical costs related to cardiovascular disease will continue to rise, with costs expected to triple over the next 20 years for Hispanics, more than double among Blacks and be higher for women than men. In addition, expenses associated with cardiovascular disease are expected to surpass medical cost estimates for other chronic diseases, such as diabetes and Alzheimer's. Indirect costs due to cardiovascular disease, or the costs related to lost productivity in the workplace and at home, are projected to be the highest for individuals age 45-64. On average, an employee with cardiovascular disease costs his or her employer nearly 60 hours and over $1,100 more in lost productivity per year than an employee without cardiovascular disease. While white Americans face the highest indirect costs, the report stresses that Hispanics are expected to experience the largest relative increase in costs due to cardiovascular disease over the next 20 years.