Heart Disease Statistics

Cardiovascular disease (Heart Disease) is the leading cause of death in the United States. Cardiovascular events include high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, coronary heart disease, as well as related diseases. Contributing factors such as diabetes and high blood pressure are also considered when compiling statistics.

General Heart Disease Statistics

Roughly half of those who died of cardiovascular disease in recent years were women. These numbers roughly equate to one person dying of a heart-disease related issue each minute and someone suffering from a heart attack approximately every 34 seconds. These numbers have driven the cost of treatment up to $316.4 billion. This includes medications, care services, and lost productivity.

Sex and Race Differences in CVD Statistics


More than one in three women suffers from cardiovascular disease. This significantly exceeds the statistics for males. In recent years, approximately 52 percent of deaths from CVD events were women. Of those who have an initial recognized heart attack, 26 percent of women die within a year, compared to 19 percent of men. Many women even suffer the effects of a CVD without experiencing prior symptoms. There is up to a 64 percent fatality rate.




Prevalence of CVD Conditions

39.9 Million

42.7 Million


392.2 Thousand

419.7 Thousand

Source: "Heart and Stroke Statistics." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


African Americans experienced a significant increase in the likelihood of developing a CVD related death, with nearly 45 percent for men and 47 percent for women. Most of these deaths are due to angina related issues. Up to 28 people for every 1000 members of the Native American population see instances of CVD related events. Many members of this population are overweight or obese, resulting in increased risk. Hispanics have an approximately 30 percent occurrence rate for CVD, which is spread evenly amongst men and women. This is significantly attributed to the high proportion of smokers within this demographic, which drives up the blood pressure rate to almost 28 percent of the population. Finally, there is a 37 percent rate of CVD in white males, and a 34 percent rate in white females. In this group, the noticeable offender is coronary heart disease, which affects almost 15 percent of the population each year.

African Americans

Native Americans

Hispanic Americans

White Americans

CVD Deaths (percent)





Leading Cause




coronary heart disease

Source: "Heart and Stroke Statistics." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Risk Factors Contributing to CVDs

According to the American Heart Association, one of the greatest contributors to heart disease is high blood pressure. High blood pressure can be brought on from smoking, poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and genetics. High blood pressure can lead to other serious conditions, such as heart attack, congestive heart failure, and stroke. Approximately 76.4 million people in this country have high blood pressure, and an additional 27 million people will suffer from it by 2030. In recent years, high blood pressure was listed as the cause of death for approximately 61,000 people and a contributing cause of death for about 348,000.

High blood cholesterol and the prevalence of other lipids can also lead to heart disease related issues. High blood cholesterol is defined as having 200 milligrams of LDL cholesterol per deciliter (mg/dL) or higher. Having low levels of HDL cholesterol (often known as "good" cholesterol) can also cause health issues. On average, 98.8 million Americans suffer from high cholesterol. Of these, 33.6 million have a severe condition, which entails having 240 mg/dL or higher. Like high blood pressure, these conditions can lead to significantly increased chances of heart attack and stroke.

Diabetes is yet another major contributor to the heart disease epidemic. Type 1 diabetes is most commonly diagnosed in children and young adults. Approximately 186,000 people throughout the country suffer from this disease. Type 2 diabetes is typically developed in those with poor diet or obesity, which disrupt the function of the pancreas. Most children who develop type 2 diabetes come from a family with a history of the disease. Nearly 18.3 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes by a physician, and yet another 7.1 million are likely to have an undiagnosed case. Untreated diabetes can lead to circulation problems, which puts strain on the heart, increasing the risk of cardiovascular distress.

Preventing CVDs

Quit smoking. According to the American Heart Association, one of the best things that people can do to help reduce their risk of developing a CVD is to quit smoking. It is estimated that smoking has resulted in approximately 443,000 premature deaths each year in the United States alone. Around 49,000 of these deaths were due to individuals being exposed to secondhand smoke. It is also estimated that about 33 percent of these deaths were related to CVDs. Eliminating smoking from your daily routine will make it easier to exercise and promote good lung health, both of which are necessary to assist in promoting heart health.

Healthy diet. It is no secret that diet plays a huge role in keeping your heart healthy. Consuming at least one serving of heart healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, lowers the risk of coronary heart disease by 4 percent and stroke by 5 percent. Combining these efforts with a higher intake of whole grains (around 2.5 servings each day) can lower the risk of suffering a CVD related event by 21 percent. On the other hand, continuing to consume high levels of LDL cholesterol heavy foods and glucose-rich foods can lead to an increased risk of developing diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.

Stay physically active. Combining dietary efforts with physical activity can dramatically decrease your risk of developing cardiovascular problems. Today, 33 percent of adults report that they do not engage in any physical activity during their leisure time. Another 49 percent are reported as failing the Federal Guideline for Physical Activity. Increasing physical activity to at least 30 minutes of work that raises the heart rate 3-4 times a week can significantly reduce the risk for heart disease. This includes a decreased risk of developing high blood pressure or diabetes.

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