In a recently released report commissioned by the American Heart Association, the costs of heart disease in the United States were predicted to triple between now and 2030, to more than $800 billion a year (Reuters).
The United States already has the highest per capita health costs “in the developed world” and current attempts to find positive ways to lower expenses haven’t yielded any solutions thus far.
According to a recent Reuters story about the study, “Dr. Paul Heidenreich of the VA Palo Alto Health Care System in California and colleagues looked at current costs of heart disease, the U.S. population and trends in behavior and illness for the first such projection of heart disease costs.”
“Between 2010 and 2030, real total direct medical costs of cardiovascular disease are projected to triple, from $272.5 billion to $818.1 billion,” reads the report, published in the journal Circulation.
The study found treating high blood pressure, or hypertension, will be the most expensive part of the cost increase. High blood pressure is a very common health problem among Americans, and increases the risk of more serious health problems including heart attack and stroke.
Hypertension is easily detectable, treatable, but most of all – preventable. Some of the risk factors of high blood pressure include being overweight, not being physically active, consuming too much salt (sodium) in your diet, using tobacco, drinking too much alcohol, too little potassium and vitamin D in your diet, and stress. Obviously, to help prevent high blood pressure you simply need to address each of the risks in a proactive way: maintain a healthy weight through physical activity and a healthy diet that limits alcohol and excludes tobacco.
Not interested in any changing your lifestyle habits? If that continues to be the attitude of the majority of Americans the study estimated “that 40 percent of U.S. adults, or 116 million people, will have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease” by 2030. The Reuters story goes on to point out: “Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States and most other developed countries.”
The current economy has many people wanting to know how to increase their health both short term and long term, but from this study’s results a change in American’s attitudes towards heart health would be necessary to keep from costing the United States billions more in health costs in the future. You can start with yourself though, and instead of just saying you want to lose weight, get in shape, or eat better as your New Year resolution you can actually do it this year. Your heart will thank you, and if enough of us make healthy changes we could be tax payers less burdened with rising health costs over the next two decades.