61% of U.S. adults will have some type of cardiovascular disease by 2050, report finds

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and disability in the United States — and new projections find it may become even more common in the next 30 years.

In a report released Tuesday, the American Heart Association says more than 6 in 10 U.S. adults (61%) will have some type of cardiovascular disease, or CVD, by 2050. This is particularly driven by a projected 184 million people with hypertension, or high blood pressure, which is expected to increase from 51.2% in 2020 to 61% in 2025.

“Clinically, cardiovascular disease is identified as a number of specific conditions, including coronary heart disease (including heart attack), arrhythmias (including atrial fibrillation), valvular disease, congenital heart disease, heart failure, stroke and hypertension,” the association defines in its report. “However, high blood pressure is also known as a major risk factor contributing to both heart disease and stroke.”

Where are other increases expected?

Total CVD diagnoses, which includes numbers for stroke but not high blood pressure, will increase from 11.3% to 15% or from 28 million to 45 million adults, during the same time.

Stroke specifically will see the largest increase, according to the report, jumping from 3.9% to 6.4%, with the “total prevalence number nearly doubling from 10 million to almost 20 million adults.”

Increases were also projected for coronary heart disease (from 7.8% to 9.2%) and heart failure (from 2.7% to 3.8%).

And while there is a projected decline of high cholesterol diagnoses, other risk factors like obesity and diabetes will also increase, from 43.1% to 60.6% and 16.3% to 26.8%, respectively. 

Prevalence also varies by racial and ethnic groups, the report found. For example, the increase in total projected numbers of people with CVD and poor health behaviors rose most among Hispanic adults and Asian populations, while Black adults are projected to have the highest prevalence of hypertension, diabetes and obesity.

These disparities can be attributed to “individual, structural and systemic racism, as well as socioeconomic factors and access to care,” the report notes.