According to Web MD’s latest figures, the cost of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the U.S. was about $457.4 billion in 2010! This outrageous expense included treatment costs for heart conditions, peripheral artery disease, hypertensive disease (high blood pressure), and stroke. Why are these numbers so high?
First, it’s important to understand why hypertensive disease and stroke are included in heart disease’s costs. It’s because these conditions are directly related to heart attacks. For example, high blood pressure causes hypertensive heart disorders, making the patient suffer from CAD (coronary artery disease) and angina.
Next, to reach the entire total that provides the overall costs of heart disease, every facet impacting a patient is a vital component. It must include all expenses from two categories, direct and indirect.
Direct medical costs occur within days of a heart attack. They include ambulance fees, diagnostic tests, hospital charges, medications, and possible surgery.
In 2006, the American Heart Association published a study estimating the direct costs of CVD for only one year at $457.4 billion! Of that, 64% came from hospital expenses; 19.5% arose from drugs; and 14.8% occurred from physician visits.
This same study showed the largest indirect costs include lost time, productivity, and income. It revealed indirect costs accounted for 63% of the total cost of CVD. Premature mortality from CAD was responsible for 75% of the total indirect costs.
Another exorbitant cost of heart disease is long-term maintenance. This category includes prescription drugs, testing, and physician visits.
The cost of heart disease, a bankrupting liability, strikes across all income levels. That’s why it’s important to find ways to save as much as possible.
One money-saving method is to ask about less-expensive medications. Most drugs have significantly cheaper “generic” forms that work just as well. Additionally, many drug companies offer assistance programs to get medicine discounts.
Additionally, consider getting disability insurance. Another option is applying for government disability.
The most important thing to know about these costs is they’ve been steadily (and sometimes in large spurts) increasing over the years with no end in sight. They account for 17% of overall national health expenditures. It’s projected that in twenty years, costs will triple to over $818 billion!
Heart disease and stroke represent one in every three deaths for men and women in the U.S. today. Don’t miss the next installment, part 7, covering treatment and prevention.