Heart health is about more than feeling good. It’s about money.
How much? How about a trillion dollars a year, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). And that money will be paid by all of us—workers, employers, and the federal government.
A new study from the AHA found cardiovascular disease (CVD), if unchecked, will place a “crushing economic burden” on the United States over the next 20 years.
“In addition to the staggering human toll it takes on Americans’ lives and health, CVD wreaks havoc on our economy,” the AHA reported in a news release announcing the study. “Currently, CVD is the costliest disease in our nation, with a price tag of $555 billion in 2016. Yet, today’s study suggests that the economic burden of CVD will only get worse. By 2035, costs will be in the trillions.”
Think about a $1 trillion bill, every year. Just for heart disease. That’s about $3,000 for every person in the country every year.
Factors: It’s on us
Yes, genetics plays a role in your heart health. And Heart Association President Steven Houser, Ph.D., in a telephone news conference, said the aging of the Baby Boomer generation is a factor leading to the growing prevalence of CDV.
But a lot of it’s on us. Americans have also adopted increasingly unhealthy lifestyles in recent years, leading to a spike in type 2 diabetes and obesity, both contributing factors to heart disease, Houser said.
By 2035, the Heart Association predicts there will be 123 million Americans with high blood pressure and 24 million heart disease patients. The good news is that the study reports CDV is largely preventable and prevention programs offer a big return on investment. The study recommends a heart-healthy lifestyle that includes exercise, regular screenings, and a healthy diet.
Get started today
The AHA offers these tips for heart health:
- Eat smart: Cook at home, control the amount of salt and the kind of ingredients you eat.
- Stock up: Keep your kitchen stocked with fruits, vegetables and other healthy food.
- Get moving: A good starting goal is 150 minutes of exercise a week.
- Have fun: Find an exercise that you like, whether that’s walking, running, or even a group dance class.
- Live well: Take time to manage stress, practice mindfulness, and connecting socially.
Tells Us About It:
How are you taking care of your heart health? Taking the stairs at work? Parking in the farthest spot away at the mall parking lot and walking? Biking to the job? Share your heart hacks.
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