Arthur Agatston, the creator of the South Beach Diet, blasted the U.S. health care system’s handling of heart diseases, saying it focuses on treating, rather than preventing, cardiovascular issues. Agatston is calling for a new direction in the medical system to help the aging Baby Boomer population before their medical needs overwhelm it.

* Artery bypasses and angioplasties pump about $50 billion into the health care system yearly, according to Reuters. Agatston believes both procedures are preventable, but hospitals likely are not willing to let go of these cash cows.

* Agatston stresses a high-fiber Mediterranean diet to boost cardiovascular health.

* An estimated 70 million Americans will be 65 or older by 2030, almost double the number of seniors today. Between 1946 and 1964, an estimated 76 million Americans were born; this generation still makes up nearly 30 percent of the overall U.S. population.

* “We have a trend here where the Baby Boomers are reaching the coronary age group, not to mention the age group of cancer,” Agatston told the Reuters news service. “At the same time, individual health-care costs are rising rapidly, and primary care doctors are going out of business and they’re not being replaced,” he said. “These trends to me are colliding in a way that is going to break the bank.”

* Drug companies depend on the continuation of disease to expand their markets and sell more patented pharmaceuticals. There is no financial incentive to hospitals, drug companies or doctors to teach patients how to prevent disease and avoid needing medical treatment.

Bottom line * Learning preventative measures for heart disease for yourself may be your best bet to avoid issues later on, as a doctor or hospital is unlikely to teach you about disease prevention.