Statistics reveal that heart disease is the number one reason for death among men and women around the world. In fact, of the deaths occurring in 2017, every 1 death out of 4 was due to cardiovascular problems. In the U.S. alone, figures from 2014 reveal that almost half of the population, especially African American citizens, suffers from diseases of the heart. Approximately one in every three citizens suffers from some type of cardiovascular health problem, which adds up to around 86 million citizens; note that these figures are for the U.S. alone.


These alarming figures and statistics, apart from proving the fact that cardiovascular diseases are a major cause of concern, also highlight the fact that heart diseases are increasingly a burden on the economy of a nation as well.


Effects of heart ailments on an individual

Heart diseases can be a burden on one’s health, but it is equally taxing on the finances of an individual. Strokes and myocardial infarction (heart attack) lead to hospitalization, which in the short term can amount to huge hospitals bills as well as costs of the ambulance ride to the hospital, the diagnostic tests undergone, a stay at the hospital, medicines, and treatments. And in case of the need for surgery—for instance, bypass heart surgery—the costs further escalate. Apart from these short-term costs for cardiovascular diseases, the long-term cost can also be burdensome as it includes the costs of medicines to be consumed regularly, doctors’ fees for regular appointments, as well as expenses for diagnostic tests that are routinely done to check for either progress of the disease or to monitor improvements. To top it off, these patients might not be productive or earning an income when ridden with heart ailments, and this further compounds the financial burden.


Effects of cardiovascular diseases on the economy of a nation

When individuals are affected by heart diseases and their productivity decreases, it automatically reflects on the productivity and economy of the nation. Additionally, the money spent on heart diseases adds up in the overall cost of the disease for the nation. In fact, figures reveal that in the U.S. itself, approximately 1 billion dollars is spent per day on heart diseases in the form of medical bills and the indirect costs accounting from loss of productivity. Of the total money spent on healthcare in America, for every six dollars spent, one dollar is for cardiovascular diseases. If this situation persists, it is projected that by 2030 the total medical costs of cardiovascular diseases would amount to 818 billion dollars annually and the indirect costs due to loss of productivity would exceed 275 billion dollars for a year.


The way ahead

This situation is disconcerting, but one that can definitely be prevented. If a nation spends a little amount of time, money, and effort on educating people on the benefits of keeping weight gain in check, insisting on an active lifestyle that involves being physically active for at least 30 minutes for most days of the week, stringent rules on smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, the financial burden of heart diseases will definitely ease. Spreading awareness regarding good health is also a highly recommended step.