A new study predicts significant increases in cardiovascular issues in the United States, highlighting racial and ethnic inequality of future patients.
Cardiovascular (CV) risk factors and disease are projected to significantly increase in the United States by 2060, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
“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 and senior author of the study, in a press release.
Researchers first combined the census counts from 2025 to 2060 using data from the 2020 US Census Bureau report. Then they composited these census data with the prevalence of CV risk factors or disease, drawn from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
With these 2 data components, investigators projected the rates of CV risk factors—diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, obesity—and rates of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) —ischemic heart disease, heart failure, heart attack and stroke, for individuals until the year 2060.
Researchers categorized estimates of CV risk factors and CVD into groups based on sex (male/female), age (18-44 years old; 45-64; 67-79; older than 80), and race and ethnicity. It was found that risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and obesity are predicted to increase in the United States.
Between 2025 and 2060, the largest percent increase for CV risk factors was diabetes at 39.3% (55 million people), followed by an increase of 126 million people with dyslipidemia, 162 million with hypertension, and 126 million with obesity. Stroke (15 million people) and heart failure (13 million people) increased at the highest rates for those with CVD.
CV risk factors and CVD in race and ethnicity minority groups were generally expected to rise, whereas its prevalence in the White population decreased. Within these minority groups, the Black population could experience the highest rate of increased CV risk factors, whereas Black and Hispanic populations could also be impacted most by CVD.
Researchers recommend improving access to quality health care and lower cost treatments for at-risk individuals, along with educating people on CV risk factors. Health policy should also reform by offering quality care to historically neglected populations of racial and ethnic minorities.
“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, Massachusetts General Hospital and lead author of the study, in a press release.
This study was somewhat limited, in part due to the researchers, who predicted future CVD by assuming what future risk factors would look like. Additionally, COVID-19 was not factored into the study, nor were its long-term effects on cardiovascular health.
“Despite that several assumptions underlie these projections, the importance of this work cannot be overestimated,” said Andreas Kalogeropoulos, MD, MPH, PhD, clinical and outcomes researcher at Stony Brook University Medical Center, in a press release. “The absolute numbers are staggering and suggest that by year 2060, compared to 2025, the numbers of people, particularly minorities, with CV risk factors are expected to increase dramatically. Unless targeted action is taken, disparities in the burden of cardiovascular disease are only going to be exacerbated over time.”
New US population study projects steep rise in cardiovascular diseases by 2060. EurekAlert! Aug 1, 2022. Accessed on Aug 2, 2022.https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/960217