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Heart disease and stroke could affect 60% of US adults by 2050, new reports say

Risk factors are also increasing in children and young adults, the American Heart Association said.
A person showing an anatomical model of the heart
Posted at 3:31 PM, Jun 04, 2024

The American Heart Association said two new scientific reports show heart disease and risk of stroke could affect at least 60% of adults in the U.S. within the next 30 years.

Both reports were published Tuesday in the organization’s Circulation journal.

The first report looked at trends based on the 2015 to March 2020 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and 2015 to 2019 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey.

Researchers estimated the prevalence of high blood pressure will increase from 51.2% in 2020 to 61% in 2050, diabetes will increase from 16.3% to 26.8% and obesity will increase from 43.1% to 60.6%. The report also estimates high cholesterol will decline from 45.8% to 24% by 2050.

Illustration of a human heart with blood vessels.

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Coronary disease, heart failure, stroke, atrial fibrillation and total cardiovascular disease are all expected to become more common, the report claimed.

Poor diet, inadequate physical activity and smoking are estimated to improve over time, the report said, but inadequate sleep will worsen.

Risk factors are also increasing in children and young adults, the American Heart Association said.

Obesity is expected to affect a third of all children by 2050, up from 20% in 2020. The highest increases are expected among children 2 to 5 years old and 12 to 19 years old.

The biggest rise in the total number of people with cardiovascular disease will be among Hispanic adults, with Asian adults also seeing a large increase, according to the projections.

The researchers said the solution to managing or reversing these alarming trends is clinical and public health interventions.

The second report highlighted by the organization forecast the economic burden of cardiovascular disease. Annual health care costs related to heart conditions are projected to almost quadruple in 30 years, from $393 billion to $1.49 trillion.