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U.S. Heart Disease Costs Expected to Soar
Date:1/24/2011

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Jan. 24 (HealthDay News) -- The cost of treating heart disease and stroke in the United States is expected to triple in the next 20 years, to $818 billion, a new report says.

According to the American Heart Association, which issued the policy statement, this $545 billion increase in costs for treating heart disease and stroke is largely due to the aging of the population.

"The burden of heart disease and stroke on the U.S. health care system will be substantial and will limit our ability to care for the U.S. population unless we can take steps now to prevent cardiovascular disease," said Dr. Paul Heidenreich, an associate professor of medicine at Stanford Medical School and chair of the American Heart Association panel issuing the policy statement.

The policy statement was published in the Jan. 24 online edition of Circulation.

This dramatic increase in costs was based on the current rate of heart disease adjusted for changes in the overall age of Americans and the anticipated racial mix of patients. Moreover, these estimates didn't take into account the additional costs for those who have more than one condition, or new treatments that might come along, the researchers noted.

To curb this rise in costs, the panel said that "effective prevention strategies are needed if we are to limit the growing burden of cardiovascular disease."

American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown said in a news release that "unhealthy behaviors and unhealthy environments have contributed to a tidal wave of risk factors among many Americans. Early intervention and evidence-based public policies are absolute musts to significantly reduce alarming rates of obesity, hypertension, tobacco use and cholesterol levels."

Right now, 36.9 percent of Americans have some type of heart disease, including high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke a
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