The American Heart Association predicted this week that by 2030 the number of Americans with heart failure will rise 46 percent.

During the same time period, the increased treatment cost could more than double, from $31 billion in 2012 to $70 billion in 2030.

The increased cost represents an additional $244 tax burden for every citizen.

"If we don't improve or reduce the incidence of heart failure by preventing and treating the underlying conditions, there will be a large monetary and health burden on the country," said Paul A. Heidenreich, MD, MS, and professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, in a statement.

"The costs will be paid for by every adult in this country, not just every adult with heart failure," Heidenreich added.

The number of Americans suffering heart failure in 2012 was 5 million, and by 2030 that number is expected to reach 8 million, largely because the population is aging.

"Heart failure is a disease of the elderly," Heidenreich said. "Because our population is aging, it will become more common and the cost to treat heart failure will become a significant burden to the United States over the next 20 years unless something is done to reduce the age-specific incidence."

The rising cost of heart failure treatment belongs to the broader issue of cardiovascular health. In 2010, the cost of all cardiovascular disease in the United States totaled $444 billion, a value that includes the cost of heart conditions, stroke, peripheral artery disease, and high blood pressure.

Taken together, the financial burden of cardiovascular health accounts for $1 of every $6 spent on healthcare in the United States. Total healthcare expenditures now exceed $2.6 trillion nationally.

As a policy solution to the growing heart failure problem, the American Heart Association recommends improving the coordination of care from hospital to home, further specialized training for healthcare professionals, more equitable access to treatment across lines of race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, and increased access to palliative and hospice care.

Individuals can take several steps to prevent heart failure. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week, including brisk walking or biking.

Steps taken to reduce blood pressure, improve cholesterol, and control bodyweight can also help offset the high cost of heart failure— both its personal cost, and its enormous cost for taxpayers, both present and future.