According to the American Heart Association (AHA), 48% of US adults have some form of cardiovascular disease.
And no, this is not a typo.
That means almost half of all American adults are living with heart disease... and dying from it too.
Nearly one in four deaths in the United States is caused by heart disease. It’s the leading cause of mortality in the country, followed by cancer and chronic respiratory diseases.
And recently, the numbers have been getting worse.
Heart attack—one form of cardiovascular disease—has made a big comeback after decades of progress fighting it.
In the past 60 years, assistance with quitting smoking, better blood pressure and cholesterol drugs, and advanced methods of surgery have helped drive down death rates by over 70%.
But since 2011, death rates from cardiovascular disease have only dropped by 4%... and the demographics of heart attack victims are changing.
You see, 50 years ago, the typical heart attack victim was male with a smoking habit and extremely high LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
But now many patients are younger non-smokers, usually overweight to obese... and often they are women.
Sadiya Khan, a cardiologist and assistant professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, largely blames the obesity epidemic in the US for this troubling trend: “I think obesity is the new smoking in terms of contribution to heart disease.”
By the way, women, once they have a heart attack, are at greater risk of dying from it than men.
The reason: Their symptoms can be vastly different from men’s and are often misread by medical personnel until it’s too late.
- Among the most common symptoms of a heart attack for women are indigestion, stomach pain, heart palpitations, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, and jaw, neck, or shoulder pain.
They often feel a subtle tightness or pressure in the chest—rather than the full-blown, telltale chest pain that most men experience when they have a heart attack.
Nearly 62% of female heart attack patients showed three or more of the above symptoms.
And nearly 30% of them had earlier sought medical care for related symptoms... but their doctors didn’t realize their problems were heart-related.
It seems that male physicians in particular have a hard time diagnosing women’s heart attacks correctly and are more likely to dismiss their symptoms as nothing serious.
- A 2018 study revealed that women had a two to three times greater chance to survive a heart attack when they were being treated by a female doctor in the emergency room.
That’s a pretty shocking number. But then, of course, the best way to deal with a heart attack is to prevent it before it even happens.
A healthy diet and exercise can help a great deal here. Plus, for three decades, statin drugs like Lipitor have played a big part in the prevention of cardiovascular disease as well.
We now know that statins don’t just lower high LDL cholesterol. They also have anti-inflammatory effects and may help prevent abnormal blood clotting and reduce arterial plaque.
Unfortunately, statins can have unwanted side effects that range from the unpleasant to the serious—including muscle pain, liver damage, increased blood sugar or type-2 diabetes, and confusion or memory loss.
Overall, up to 45% of all patients discontinue statins within six months, reports a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, putting them at increased risk for a major cardiovascular event.
That’s why I think the company I recently discovered for Healthy Returns, my investment newsletter focused on healthcare stocks, is going to be a huge winner... and my colleague Dr. Mike Roizen, chief wellness officer at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic, agrees.
This company has developed a new, once-a-day pill as an answer to statins.
The secret: Although your body absorbs some cholesterol from what you eat, your liver actually produces most of the cholesterol in your blood.
So the drug works by inhibiting an enzyme called ACL, which prevents your liver from producing as much LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) as it would otherwise.
Patients can take the new drug together with a statin or by itself to achieve their LDL-C target levels.
- It looks like the new drug doesn’t cause the side effects we associate with statins.
Five successful phase-3 trials with thousands of patients proved that the drug is safe and effective.
It lowered “bad” cholesterol by an additional 35% in patients already taking statins... and by 43% in patients not taking statins.
I am convinced that this drug is the future of treating and preventing cardiovascular disease and heart attack.
- The potential market is huge: In the US alone, 34 million patients currently take statins.
8.7 million of these patients need to reduce their LDL-C more despite taking the highest dose of statins they can.
Another 9.6 million should be taking statins but aren’t... because they either experienced side effects or are afraid of them.
Altogether, that translates into a $64 billion annual revenue opportunity.
And there are another 17.5 million potential customers in Europe, 5.8 million in Japan, and 19.6 million in China.
I’d like to keep going, but I’m running out of space and time.
To read all about this amazing company, check the May issue of Healthy Returns. A monthly subscription is only $9.95, so just give it a try.
The company is still a Buy, and for me, it’s what one of my analyst colleagues here at Mauldin Economics calls a “high-conviction trade.” You’ll see why when you read the details.
Editor, A Rich Life
Please note that the companies Chris mentions in A Rich Life are just meant to give you some ideas for your own research... not official investment recommendations. There’s no A Rich Life portfolio, and Chris doesn’t keep track of these companies.
Chris does provide actual stock picks—thoroughly researched and vetted, with entry and target prices, full company analysis, the whole nine yards—in his investment newsletter, Healthy Returns. Click here to subscribe to Healthy Returns at a low monthly rate.