The Financial Impact of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: March 2024

Cardiovascular disease (CVD), which encompasses various heart and blood vessel disorders, is currently the most costly chronic condition in the United States. And it has been the top cause of death among Americans for many decades.1,2

Today, CVD costs the United States billions of dollars each year. In the coming years, that cost is expected to rise along with the number of people diagnosed with some form of CVD.1,2

The rising cost of CVD

The American Heart Association (AHA) estimates that the direct and indirect costs of CVD in the United States from 2014 to 2015 totaled about $351 billion. By 2035, the projected costs of CVD could soar to upward of $1 trillion.1

These costs include:1,2

  • Personal medical expenses
  • Lost productivity due to time away from work and death
  • The overall strain on healthcare resources

The increasing prevalence of CVD

According to AHA data, by 2035, nearly half of the US population will have some form of CVD. This equals about 131 million people. The most common heart conditions that affect Americans include:1

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Atrial fibrillation (Afib)
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure

The financial implications of CVD cannot be overlooked. CVD takes a severe toll not only on people’s well-being but also on their financial health.1

Financial impact on patients and families

Managing a chronic heart condition requires ongoing medical care, medicines, and lifestyle changes. Specific expenses that people living with CVD have to deal with include:1-3

  • Doctor visits
  • Tests and diagnostic services
  • Hospital stays
  • Prescription medicines
  • Cardiac rehabilitation
  • Procedures and/or surgeries
  • Follow-up care
  • Home healthcare
  • Mental health support

While these are direct expenses, there also are indirect costs of CVD. Being sick, having doctor’s appointments, or being in the hospital all result in missed workdays and reduced earning potential. Missing work can lead to financial losses for both people with CVD and the businesses where they work.1,3

Financial impact on employers

The economic toll extends to employers as well. Companies that provide insurance coverage for employees with heart disease face high healthcare costs.1,3

For example, a 2012 study found that every short-term disability claim filed due to a heart attack resulted in an $8,000 loss in work productivity, and long-term claims each resulted in a $52,000 loss to employers.1

Prevention as a cost-effective strategy

The financial toll of CVD is undeniable. Once you are diagnosed with CVD, you are on a path toward higher healthcare costs and medical bills. This is why prevention is so important. If we all invest in preventative measures such as practicing healthy lifestyles, getting regular exercise, and eating a heart-healthy diet, we can reduce the economic burden of CVD.1,3

Programs that aim to educate the public on prevention are very important. Encouraging people to get regular health checkups and manage risk factors like high blood pressure and high cholesterol can help with long-term cost savings as well.1,3

More work is needed to curb the costs of CVD

The financial impact of cardiovascular disease is not confined to medical bills and treatment costs. It ripples through whole economies, affecting people with CVD and their caregivers, employers, and nations across the globe.1,3

More research is needed to understand how to better treat, prevent, and reduce the financial burden of CVD. As we strive for a healthier future, we must invest in proactive measures that promote heart health.1

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