The number of people living with heart failure in the United States has been rising at a rapid pace, according to a report released Thursday by the American Heart Association. Over only five years, the number of adults with the condition increased by more than 800,000. The report predicted a 46 percent increase by 2030 for a total of eight million people with heart failure.
Despite its name, heart failure does not mean the heart stops beating. Instead, it refers to a condition in which the muscles in the heart’s walls weaken and enlarge, preventing it from pumping a sufficient amount of blood. Around 6.5 million people have heart failure today, up from about 5.7 million in 2011, and it is one of the main reasons people over the age of 65 are admitted to the hospital.
The predicted exponential increase in heart failure rates might actually be due to medical advances. More people than ever before survive heart attacks, but the attacks damage the muscle, leaving heart failure behind.