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    Heart Disease Treatment Costs May Triple in Next 20 Years

    Aging Baby Boomers Could Push Costs Up to $545 Billion by 2030, Group Says

    The Numbers

    More than 40% of Americans will have cardiovascular disease by 2020, but by 2030, this will rise to 40.5%, or 116 million people, the panel report says.

    The biggest increases are expected in stroke, estimated to rise 24.9%, and heart failure, predicted to increase by 25%.

    The cost of medical care for heart disease will rise from $273 billion in 2010 to $818 billion, an increase Heidenreich described as “remarkable.”

    Heart disease also will cost the nation many billions of dollars in lost productivity, jumping to $276 billion in 2030 from $172 billion now. Productivity losses include days missed from home or work tasks because of illness and potential lost earnings from premature death.

    The authors write that cardiovascular disease now accounts for 17% of overall national health expenditures, which are the highest in the world, eating up 15% of gross domestic product, compared to 10% in 1985.

    Costs Rise as Life Expectancy Rises

    The growth in costs has accompanied a rise in life expectancy, suggesting that spending on cardiovascular problems has been of considerable value, but significant improvements can and should be made in the coming years, the policy statement says.

    Costs could rise even higher than projected, the panel says, if obesity and diabetes continue to increase rapidly.

    The panel recommends that the U.S. health care system should promote prevention and early intervention on risk factors for cardiovascular disease, as well as encourage community prevention efforts (such as reducing sodium content of foods and designing new communities to promote physical activity).

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