How AI Helps Fight Heart Disease
By Henry Silva, AI developer
Artificial intelligence is already making groundbreaking changes in our society and benefiting us in ways never thought possible. One of the fields that is being heavily impacted by AI is health care. We’ve talked about how AI is being used to assist mental health studies and treatment before, and how it’s changing the fight against diabetes. Now we will focus on another huge aspect of AI in health care: cardiovascular diseases.
Cardiovascular diseases are illnesses related to our blood and/or heart. Think of heart attacks, strokes, or heart failure. These are among the most common and dangerous diseases in the U.S. It is estimated that one person dies every 36 seconds in the U.S. due to cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, major health issues related to cardiovascular diseases, like hypertension and obesity, tend to be more present among Black and Latino communities, meaning that if you’re in one of these underrepresented groups, you are more likely to suffer from such illnesses.
And these numbers only tend to grow due to our increasingly sedentary and sugar-dependent society — factors that drastically increase the chances of developing cardiovascular conditions.
Fortunately, AI tools can help combat these worrying numbers. A lot of groundbreaking research is being done in order to use artificial intelligence to assist us in treating diseases, and to great effect, too.
These new technologies are currently being successfully used to assist health care professionals working in the cardiovascular sector. AI can provide medication reminders, real-time disease counseling, and early symptom warning for patients suffering from cardiovascular-related diseases. It can also quickly and efficiently analyze the patient's medical history, and then provide useful insights and data about how their previous interactions with other medications and diseases could affect their current state. These systems are also used as tools for detecting subtle symptoms of serious illnesses, like valvular heart disease. They allow clinicians to gather information and deal with potential issues way faster and more efficiently than before, which just goes to show the enormous potential of AI in medicine.
And since AI can improve itself by learning from huge amounts of data, the system only gets better as the number of patients using it increases.
Another huge contribution of AI to health care are clinical predictions. Scientists are building powerful machines that, by analyzing data from previous clinical cases, learn how to provide important information about the patients. The AI is able to accurately predict which patients have a higher chance of surviving in the next few years given current conditions, and then the health care providers are able to better assess the needs of the patients and follow up with an overall better and more careful treatment.
All of these new technologies are incredibly exciting and provide us with a glimpse into what our future could look like with powerful AI guiding our healthcare system, but we still need to worry about how accessible all of this is and will be. The U.S. is known for having hugely inaccessible health care systems, and so this technology will only be an improvement if people have access to it. So even though we should be thrilled about our future, social equity is key for all communities to experience these new technologies.