The American Heart Association recently published Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics — 2020 Update. This annual report details the health and economic burdens of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the U.S. and worldwide. The AHA updates its widely-cited study each year with the latest statistics and findings. Each year the report also updates information on new monitoring methods, evidence-based approaches to changing behaviors, and the AHA’s new Impact Goals.

Major findings in the AHA report improvements for Americans aged 12 to 19 in nonsmoking, total cholesterol, and blood pressure, but no change in health diet scores, and decreases in physical activity, BMI, and diabetes for that age group. Adults 20 and older improved cardiovascular health overall with better scores in nonsmoking, total cholesterol, blood pressure, and physical activity, but measures of diabetes and BMI worsened. These statements are gross summaries. Even the report summary is loaded with details relative to a wide range of diseases and procedures.

The AHA reported the annual direct and indirect costs of cardiovascular disease and stroke averaged $351.3 billion from 2014 to 2015. During the next two decades, the AHA estimates the total costs for CVD will remain about the same for 18- to 44-year-olds, increase slightly for 45- to 64-year olds, and increase sharply for people 65 and older.

The AHA’s CVD report underscores the need and the potential for wearables and other digital technologies to improve outcomes and lower healthcare costs for the wide range of CVD-related diseases and conditions. With more than $350 billion a year to work with, any reduction could result in significant savings.