In a recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, a collaborative research team from the medical field and academia suggest the US could experience a sharp increase in cardiovascular (CV) diseases and risk factors between 2025 and 2060. Combining data from the 2020 US Census Bureau and the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the study estimated CV risk factors for diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and obesity; as well as certain CV diseases such as ischemic heart disease, heart failure, heart attack, and stroke in groups based on age (18-44 years; 45-64; 67-79; >80), sex (male and female), and race/ethnicity (Asian, Black, Hispanic, White and other).
The alarming results revealed significant increases in both CV risk factors and diseases between 2025 and 2060 for racial and ethnic minorities, whereas White individuals are expected to decrease, and are also expected to balance out for men versus women. The CV risk factors numbers include increases in diabetes (39.3%), hypertension (27.2%), dyslipidemia (27.5%), and obesity (18.3%). Simultaneously, the CV diseases numbers included increases in ischemic heart disease (31.1%), heart failure (33.0%), myocardial infarction (30.1%), and stroke (34.3%).
“Our analysis projects that that the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors and diseases will continue to rise with worrisome trends,” said James L. Januzzi Jr., MD, cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, Cardiology Division, Hutter Family Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Trustee of the ACC, and a co-author on the study. “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.”
The study pushed the importance of educating the public regarding CV risk factors, along with improving access to quality and affordable healthcare and preventive treatments to help curtail these projected numbers. Additionally, health policies will need to be produced to ensure racial and ethnic communities receive proper access to such healthcare and treatment, as well.
“Ultimately, as prevention is imperative to tackle the future burden of cardiovascular disease, the results from this study pose an important challenge,” said Reza Mohebi, MD, the Dennis and Marilyn Barry Fellow in Cardiology at Massachusetts General Hospital and lead author of the study. “In order to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in the U.S. population, health care policymakers will need to allocate preventive measures and health care resources to the more vulnerable populations we projected to have higher percentage rise in disease.”
As always, keep doing science & keep looking up!