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Cardiovascular Disease Receives the Short End of the Stick in Government Funding.
By: Patrick Mansfield | U.S. Health Alerts


Federal Funding For Cardiovascular Disease Does Not Keep Pace With Overall Funding From National Institutes Of Health.

2016 was a banner year for health research with the National Institutes of Health receiving a massive increase in funding to promote important studies over the next ten years. While this seems like a huge win for better health options, federal funding falls short in one important area: Cardiovascular disease. 

The new funding, which was signed into effect by President Obama in December of 2016, helps to cover several different types of important research, but holds no additional money to move forward with studies surrounding the heart. Of the $5 billion dollars of funding available over the next decade through the 21st Century Cures Act, $1.8 billion has been designated for cancer research, $1.5 billion goes toward the BRAIN Initiative, approximately $1.5 billion is set aside for the Precision Medicine Initiative, and the $30 million remaining dollars fund regenerative medicine with the use of adult stem cells. 

The 21st Century Cures Act will certainly cover a lot of much-needed research expenses, but it seems to have left out one of the most important health concerns in the United States. 

According to the statistics, heart disease is the number one cause of death in our nation and also accounts for the highest medical bills. While it would seem that targeting the nation’s largest killer would be a must, not only does the 21st Century Cures Act completely omit it from the additional funding, but the NIH only donates four-percent of all its funding money on researching the heart. The other lowest researched health risk is stroke studies which get a tiny one-percent of the NIH’s budgeted money. 

Without the necessary funding, things aren’t expected to get better for cardiovascular disease patients in the future. The American Heart Association’s CEO Nancy Brown spoke up to insist that the future is going to look bleak if additional research isn’t done on both the heart and strokes. Researchers at the AHA report that, if something does not change, by the year 2030, 40.5 percent of all Americans will suffer from heart disease. 

Not only will almost half of the population suffer form heart disease in 2030, but the already-high cost of treatment is expected to skyrocket. In 2012, 35 percent of Americans were diagnosed with heart disease and their combined medical bills were approximately $316.6 billion. By 2030, the price should be expected to reach as high as $1 trillion. 

Nancy Brown pleaded for more research funds dedicated to heart disease research so that it would be possible to move forward with additional studies that could ultimately save lives, reverse the effects of the disease, and prevent disability.

The NIH reports that, despite their low funding for heart disease studies, the research they have done has provided a 70 percent increase in life expectancy after someone is diagnosed with cardiovascular disease. This means that research truly does make a difference in the outcome of heart disease and whether or not it is fatal.

While funding is certainly necessary, the AHA’s president Steven Houser, Ph.D., explained that this is a time when money is unpredictable, despite the desperate need for the additional research. Houser explained that, while there are new ideas for researching this deadly disease, these studies can only be performed if the AHA has adequate funding to back up their efforts. With shaky funding options, Houser went on to say that there is little incentive to develop research plans. 

Until the AHA is given enough money to move forward with funding, it appears that we will be forced to continue on with traditional approaches at battling heart disease and will be unable to discover new methods to reduce death and lower disabilities. 

Houser went on to say that more funding would also make it possible to reach out to more minorities, the elderly, and women for the research process.
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