Tom Brizuela has been suffering from congestive heart failurefor the last 15–years.
How many times has he been in and out of the hospital?
"Too many to count," he says.
His enlarged heart struggles to pump enough blood throughouthis body, so the 58–year–old tires easily.
Tom says, "Sometimes I am out of breath when I walk outof my bedroom to the kitchen."
Brizuela is one of 5–million people in the U.S. with heartfailure.
In a new policy statement, the American Heart Associationsays that number could spike 46–percent to 8–million in 2030 as the babyboomers age.
Dr. Gregg Fonarow says, "There are a number of riskfactors for developing heart failure. These include things like being obese,high blood pressure, diabetes, older age."
According to the American Heart Association, the costs totreat heart failure could more than double to 70 billion dollars in less than20 years.
But the statement's co–author Dr. Gregg Fonarow says it'spossible to reverse that trend.
Dr. Fonarow says, "Prevention is really key. Heart failurecan be prevented in many individuals if there is more appropriate earlydetection of those with risk factors for heart failure and aggressivetreatment."
Brizuela is staying positive while he waits for a new heart.
Tom says. "I thank God for another day. Another gift. Alife."
It could take up to three years for him to get a transplant.
Heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalization forthose over 65.
The American Heart Association statement also calls forspecialized training for healthcare professionals to meet the future demands ofheart failure patients.
It also suggests increasing hospice care to treatpatients with the advanced form of the disease.