Two decades from now, the costs of treating heart disease will triple by 2030, hitting $818 billion, predicts an American Heart Association (AHA) study.
That’s over a half-trillion-dollar increase from the $273 billion now.
“Despite the successes in reducing and treating heart disease over the last half century, even if we just maintain our current rates, we will have an enormous financial burden on top of the disease itself,” says Paul Heidenreich, chair of the AHA panel.
Here are some other figures from the report:
“Unhealthy behaviors and unhealthy environments have contributed to a tidal wave of risk factors among many Americans,” says AHA’s Nancy Brown. “Early intervention and evidence-based public policies are absolute musts to significantly reduce alarming rates of obesity, hypertension, tobacco use and cholesterol levels.”
Most heart disease is preventable with better diet and more exercise, according to the AHA, and one easy fix would be for Americans to eat less salt.
The study calls upon policymakers to shift focus to prevention: "The US healthcare system often rewards practices that treat disease and injury rather than those that prevent them.”
The results appear in Circulation this week.
In the nearer future, ten years from now, medical expenses for cancer will soar to at least $158 billion, according to projections from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) last week.
That’s a 27% increase from current costs of $124.6 billion.
What’s more, if new tools for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up continue to be more expensive, the costs could get as high as $207 billion – illustrating the importance of advancing the science of cancer prevention and treatment, says Robert Croyle of the NCI.
Here’re more key numbers:
"We thought that, given the aging of the US population, we should try to provide some numbers for policymakers and health planners so they could prepare for the future," says study author Angela Mariotto of the NCI.
One way to reign in the costs, according to Jay Wolfson, professor of public health and medicine at the University of South Florida, is to change consumer expectations of care and the deployment tactics for providers to reduce unnecessary, inappropriate or wasteful service. "This is easy to say from a distance, but when a family is notified that a member has a cancer, their first goal is to get the best and most care possible – and our system tends to oblige."
The analysis appeared in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute last week.
Image: 1955 open-heart surgery by R. Perry / National Library of Medicine
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com