Cardiovascular Disease to Cost $449 Billion in 2008

AHA releases updated statistics on heart disease and stroke, with expanded kidney data

THURSDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Although death rates from cardiovascular disease fell nearly 25 percent between 1994 and 2004, it remains the leading cause of death in the United States, killing an American every 37 seconds, according to the American Heart Association's 2008 heart disease and stroke statistics update, published online Dec. 17 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Despite greater awareness of the risk of high low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol between 1988-1994 and 1999-2004 -- and a rise in usage of lipid-lowering drugs -- the age-adjusted prevalence of high LDL in adults fell only slightly, from 26.6 percent to 25.3 percent, between these periods. According to National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data, the age-adjusted prevalence of overweight and obesity rose from 64.5 percent to 66.3 percent between 1999-2000 and 2003-2004.

The total cost of stroke and cardiovascular disease for 2008 is an estimated $448.5 billion. According to the report, cardiovascular disease costs more than any other diagnostic group.

In addition, the report contains expanded coverage of kidney disease related to cardiovascular disease. The incidence of reported end-stage renal disease nearly doubled from 68,757 in 1994 to 102,356 in 2004.

"Although we have made some substantial strides in understanding the causes of cardiovascular disease, the data in this publication show that we have a long way to go to capture people's attention and to implement the prevention and treatment programs we need," said Donald Lloyd-Jones, M.D., chair of the American Heart Association's statistics committee, in a prepared statement.

Some members of the report's writing group have relationships with pharmaceutical companies.

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