Death rates due to heart failure are increasing, and this increase is most prominent among younger adults under 65, considered premature death, said a study from Northwestern Medicine.
The study used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Wide-Ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research data, which includes the underlying and contributing cause of death from all death certificates for 47.728 million individuals in the United States from 1999 to 2017.
Researchers analyzed the age-adjusted mortality rate for black and white adults between the age of 35 to 84 who died from heart failure.
The study showed for the first time that death rates due to heart failure have been increasing since 2012. The rise in deaths comes despite significant advances in medical and surgical treatments for heart failure in the past decade.
The increase in premature death from heart failure was highest among black men under age 65, and an estimated 6 million adults in the United States have heart failure. It's the number one reason older adults are admitted to the hospital.
"The success of the last three decades in improving heart failure death rates is now being reversed, and it is likely due to the obesity and diabetes epidemics," said Sadiya Khan, assistant professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a Northwestern Medicine cardiologist.
"Given the aging population and the obesity and diabetes epidemics, which are major risk factors for heart failure, it is likely that this trend will continue to worsen," she said.
Recent data show the average life expectancy in the United States is also declining, which compounds Khan's concern.
In the next step, the researchers will try to better understand what causes the disparities in cardiovascular death related to heart failure.
The study was published Monday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Northwestern Medicine is the collaboration between Northwestern Memorial Healthcare and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, which includes research, teaching and patient care.