Heart Failure Still on the Rise – American Heart Month Focuses Attention on an Alarming Trend

The number of people diagnosed with heart failure is increasing and projected to rise by 46{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} by 2030, resulting in more than 8 million people with heart failure, according to the 2017 Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics Update published by the American Heart Assoc.
There are several reasons for the rise in heart failure, which means the heart is too weak to pump blood throughout the body, experts said.
In part, the increase can be attributed to medical advances, because more people are surviving heart attacks and therefore face higher heart failure risk afterward, said Paul Muntner, a member of the statistical update’s writing panel and a professor and vice chair in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. But the aging of America and other health issues are also major contributors.
“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 Dr. Mariell Jessup, a heart-failure expert and former president of the American Heart Assoc.
Cardiovascular diseases, including coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and stroke, collectively remain the leading cause of death in the world and the U.S. Heart disease and stroke are still the leading two killers in the world; in the U.S., heart disease ranks first and stroke fifth. Some key statistics:
• Cardiovascular diseases were the most common cause of death in the world, claiming about 17.3 million lives.
• In the U.S., more than one in three adults (92.1 million in total) have cardiovascular diseases, accounting for 807,775 deaths.
• About 790,000 people in the U.S. have heart attacks each year. Of those, about 114,000 will die.
• In the U.S., about 795,000 adults experience a new or recurrent stroke annually, accounting for nearly 133,000 deaths.
• There are more than 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the U.S. annually, nearly 90{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of them fatal.
Disparities in how these diseases affect different people continued, according to the update.
“We know that advances in cardiovascular health are not distributed evenly across the population,” said Dr. Emelia Benjamin, chair of the AHA statistics committee and professor of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. “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.”
The update also included the latest figures on what the AHA calls “Life’s Simple 7,” key measures and behaviors that can help people stay healthy and lower their risk for heart disease, stroke, and other major problems. These includes non-smoking, staying physically active, eating a healthy diet, maintaining a normal body weight, and controlling cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar.
“There is a lot of information and misinformation about the risk factors for cardiovascular disease,” Benjamin said. “The AHA has tried to simplify awareness of cardiovascular disease by emphasizing AHA’s Life’s Simple 7.”