WEDNESDAY, May 22 (HealthDay News) -- Over the next two decades, the cost of treating strokes in the United States is expected to more than double, topping more than $180 billion a year, according to new research.
The main factor driving the increase: an aging population. The report, from the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Stroke Association, was published May 22 in the journal Stroke.
"Strokes will absolutely strain the health care system," Dr. Bruce Ovbiagele, chairman of the department of neurology at the Medical University of South Carolina, said in an AHA news release.
One expert who reviewed the report agreed.
"The forecasts in this article are indeed dire -- the predicted direct and indirect costs of stroke could place a heavy burden on our society, and they may be underestimates," said Dr. Stanley Truhim, director of the Mount Sinai Stroke Center in New York City.
According to the AHA, the highest uptick in stroke prevalence will be among Americans between 45 and 64 years of age, who will experience about a 5 percent increase in strokes over the next 20 years. Finances will be strained to meet the care needs of these younger stroke victims, who are too young to receive Medicare, less able to afford medications and often suffer from obesity or diabetes.
People who do not have health insurance also have a 24 percent to 56 percent greater risk of death from stroke than those with coverage, according to the AHA statement.
The AHA also predicted the following will occur by 2030:
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