Heart failure expected to steadily rise through 2030

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New statistics show the number of people diagnosed with heart failure will rise 46 percent by 2030, a major increase that would result in more than eight million people to be diagnosed with the condition, according to a new report from the American Heart Association (AHA).

One reason contributing to the problem: medical advances. According to Paul Munter, PhD, a professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham who worked on the report, medical advances have resulted in more patients surviving heart attacks, who then face a higher risk of developing heart failure. Additionally, an aging population is a major contributor, according to the report, which is published in Circulation.

The report, compiled by the AHA, cites data from the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other government organizations.

The number of adults with heart failure increased from 5.7 million in the four years between 2009 and 2012 to 6.5 million in the four years between 2011 and 2014, the report showed.

“The epidemics of diabetes and obesity both contribute to the rising number of patients who acquire heart failure—our growing population of the elderly are particularly susceptible,” said Mariell Jessup, MD, a heart failure expert and former president AHA, in a statement.

Part of why cardiovascular disease remains a major threat is because not everyone has the same access to healthcare and heart specialists.

“We know that advances in cardiovascular health are not distributed evenly across the population,” said Emelia J. Benjamin, MD, chair of the AHA Statistics Committee and a professor of medicine at Boston University School, in a statement. “In particular, individuals who live in rural communities, have less education, have lower incomes, and are ethnic or racial minorities have an undue burden of cardiovascular disease and its risk factors.”

Coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and stroke remain the leading causes of death in the world and U.S., according to the report. On average, someone dies of cardiovascular disease every 40 seconds.