Posted on Aug 17, 2022, 5 a.m.
New data from the U.S. Census Bureau suggest that cardiovascular disease (CVD) rates in the United States will increase significantly in the years ahead. A team of specialists from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School examined the numbers at length, sharing a detailed analysis in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology
The authors used census data and the U.S. National health and Nutrition Examination Survey to outline projections for CVD and risk factors associated with CVD for the years 2025 to 2060. Four key risk factors—diabetes, dyslipidemia, hypertension and obesity—are all expected to go up by at least 18%, and the increase for diabetes is estimated to be nearly 40%.
Stroke rates in the United States could increase by 33.8% by 2060, the authors added. Heart failure (33.4%), ischemic heart disease (30.7%) and heart attack (16.9%) rates are all also expected to increase dramatically.
“Our analysis projects that the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors and diseases will continue to rise with worrisome trends,” senior author James L. Januzzi Jr., MD, a cardiologist with Massachusetts General Hospital and professor at Harvard Medical School, said in a statement from the American College of Cardiology (ACC). “These striking projections will disproportionately affect racial and ethnic minority populations in the U.S. Understanding these results will hopefully inform future public health policy efforts and allow us to implement prevention and treatment measures in an equitable manner.”
One key detail of the group’s assessment is that these large increases in CVD and CVD risk factors will likely be much higher among the country’s racial and ethnic minority populations, especially black and Hispanic patients. Meanwhile, CVD rates for white populations are expected to slowly decrease over time.
“In order to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in the U.S. population, healthcare policymakers will need to allocate preventive measures and healthcare resources to the more vulnerable populations we projected to have higher percentage rise in disease,” lead author Reza Mohebi, MD, Marilyn Barry Fellow in Cardiology at Massachusetts General Hospital, said in the same statement.
Andreas Kalogeropoulos, MD, MPH, PhD, a researcher with Stony Brook University Medical Center, co-authored a separate editorial comment, also published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Kalogeropoulos et al. said these findings represent “an opportunity for professional societies, including the cardiovascular care community, to re-evaluate priorities and strategies … to best match the growing demands of a changing demographic landscape in the United States.” He also highlighted some specific recommendations for cardiologists hoping to stop these estimates from becoming reality.
“The absolute numbers are staggering and suggest that by year 2060, compared to 2025, the numbers of people, particularly minorities, with CV risk factors are expected to increase dramatically,” Kalogeropoulos said in the ACC statement. “Unless targeted action is taken, disparities in the burden of cardiovascular disease are only going to be exacerbated over time.”
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