"The new year will ring in record high costs for treating heart disease and stroke, according to an American Heart Association report that projects a 5.8% increase over 2009 spending.
Costs for cardiovascular care will rise to $503.2 billion in the U.S. next year, Donald Lloyd-Jones, MD, ScM, of Northwestern University, and colleagues predicted in the AHA statistics update.You fat folks are eating away at the rest of us in addition to all the food you eat away at.
Direct costs will reach an estimated $324.1 billion, putting cardiovascular disease ahead of all other diagnostics groups, they wrote online in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
Digestive diseases came in second, with $225.2 billion for 2010, with mental, nervous system, and injury and poisoning closely bunched between $172 billion and $178 billion each.
The biggest contributor to cardiovascular care costs was expected to be coronary heart disease, which at $177.1 billion for direct and indirect costs, was more than double that of stroke or hypertensive disease ($76.6 billion and $73.7 billion, respectively).
Direct costs incurred at the hospital were the biggest component in cardiovascular care, at an estimated $155.7 billion.
The authors said they based their projections on the most recent, nationally-representative data (largely the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) and relevant literature from the past year.
The report was a collaboration with the CDC, the National Institutes of Health, and other government agencies.
Lloyd-Jones' group attributed the rising costs, in part, to poorly controlled risk factors, particularly obesity.
Among the notable findings:Physical inactivity is rife, with 59% of adults in the 2008 National Health Interview Survey reporting no vigorous activity.Obesity now accounts for almost 10% of all medical spending, an estimated $147 billion per year in 2008, according to Lloyd-Jones' group.
Cholesterol control is poor: fewer than half of treatment candidates, or even of the highest-risk, symptomatic heart disease patients receive lipid-lowering treatment, and only a third of treated patients reach their LDL goal.
Obesity has reached at least 34% prevalence in adults and will likely continue to rise, given that 11.3% of children ages 2 to 19 were at or above the 97th percentile of BMI-for-age in the 2003-2006 NHANES.
"If current trends in the growth of obesity continue, total healthcare costs attributable to obesity could reach $861 to 957 billion by 2030, which would account for 16% to 18% of U.S. health expenditures," they wrote.
The economic consequences of physical inactivity may account for 1.5% to 3.0% of total direct healthcare expenditures, according to World Health Organization data cited in the report."