The rate of heart disease in the United States rose 2.9 percent last year, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That’s the fastest pace since 2014, and it’s still well below the national average of 3.9%.
The CDC said more than 70 million Americans were hospitalized for heart disease last year.
The rate also was well below a decade ago, when it was at a record high of 4.5%.
It’s the highest rate of total hospitalizations in nearly two decades.
The CDC also released its annual Heart Disease Data Report on Wednesday.
The latest numbers were based on a sampling of the health insurance claims that were processed by HealthCare.gov from July 31 through September 30, when the federal government’s website went live.
The report showed the rate of overall hospitalization in the U.S. rose 4.2 percent last month.
The national rate, however, was still far lower than the peak of 5.6 percent seen in 2015, when there were more than 3.2 million hospitalizations nationwide.
“While we can’t predict the future, we do know that we are seeing an increasing number of patients with heart disease and the rate is rising faster than the national rate,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the director of the Centers to Monitor and Combat Heart Disease.
“That is very worrying.”
The rate is higher than it has been since the 1950s and is also significantly lower than it was in the 1990s, when nearly two-thirds of Americans were living with the disease.
It was the lowest rate recorded since at least 1995.
“These latest numbers are a wake-up call,” said Daniel K. Fried, president and CEO of the American Heart Association.
“We’re seeing an epidemic.
This is not a temporary problem.”
The number of Americans with heart conditions has surged in recent years.
The number is now about 3.1 million, about 1.5 percentage points higher than a decade earlier, according a CDC report released in February.
That is up from more than 2.4 million in 2005.
The increase in the rate comes as the nation’s population continues to grow and as the population ages.
It is also far higher than in the last two decades, when heart disease rose by just 2 percent.
In 2014, there were 3.3 million Americans living with heart problems, about one-fifth of the nation.
In 2019, there are now 6 million Americans who are heart-disease patients, about half the nation, according the CDC.