There is no one measurement we can use to calculate the true cost of heart disease. The fact is that this number is a combination of many factors that, when taken together, show how much heart disease has cost us. Heart attacks and strokes have plagued people for thousands of years. It was once thought that heart disease risk factor was solely determined by genetics.
As we came to know more about the workings of the heart, however, new research came to light that served to establish the significance of lifestyle choices in determining the risk for heart disease.
The truth is that until we fully understand all the subtle workings of the heart and body, we will never have a definitive answer on what ultimately causes one person to develop heart disease where another does not. This lack of understanding has prompted us to learn more not only about the heart, but about the possible causes of heart disease as well as possible methods of treatment. The American Heart Association alone has spent an estimated 135 million dollars on heart attack and stroke research. This number is staggering, yet it is only one of the many costs of heart disease.
When a person has a heart attack, the first thing they do is call 911. If the person is able they may drive themselves to the hospital, but more often than not, a person suffering a heart attack will be taken to the hospital via ambulance. During this ambulance ride, they will receive treatment from emergency medical technicians in order to minimize the damage done to the heart and give the patient the best chance of survival.
After arriving at the hospital, the patient will receive treatment based on the severity of the heart attack. This treatment can range from medication to surgery. After the heart attack, the patient will remain in the hospital for up to a week.
All of the actions mentioned cost money. The estimated cost to treat a mild heart attack is over $700,000. The average estimated treatment required for a severe heart attack can cost up to $1,000,000 per patient. This figure includes not only the direct costs incurred during treatment, but also the indirect costs such as lost pay and absence from work.
When you take into consideration the fact that thousands of people across the United States are treated for heart attacks every day, it quickly becomes evident just how much money is being spent on heart disease.
The cost of treatment, like the cost of heart research, is just another factor in determining the actual cost of heart disease.
Insurance premiums have been steadily growing for years. It is often said that each year, insurance premiums cost more and cover less. Sadly, this is a fairly accurate portrayal of the cost of health in the United States. Heart disease is a massive contributor to health care costs. It is estimated that cardiovascular disease accounts for one dollar out of every six spent on healthcare in America. By adding up all of the various contributing costs, it is possible to get an estimated total. Including both direct and indirect costs, cardiovascular disease costs us an estimated 444 billion dollars annually. While the monetary cost is significant, it is nothing when compared to the emotional cost. Millions of lives cut short, millions more affected by each loss. These are the true costs of heart attacks and strokes, and we simply cannot afford it.