Heart Disease Statistics
American Heart Facts

Heart Health Stats

Statistics for Heart Disease in America

Also: Latest Health Statistics

Heart Disease Statistics


CHD Statistics
Heart Attacks Statistics
Stroke Stats
Angina Statistics
Congenital Heart Defects Statistics
Heart Failure Statistics
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) Stats
Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)

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Heart Disease in Women


Heart disease (also used interchangeably with cardiovascular disease, CVD) is a broad umbrella term to describe diseases which affect the heart. Heart disease includes coronary artery disease (CAD), congenital heart defects, irregular heart heart arrhythmia and heart infections. Heart disease generally involves the blood vessels narrowing or becoming blocked which can lead to chest pain (angina pectoris) stroke or heart attack. The following is a list of heart disease statistics derived primarily from the American Heart Foundation.

See also: UK Heart Disease Statistics.

Heart Disease Statistics: Quick Overview

In 2006:

• Over 81 million Americans had one form or other of cardiovascular disease (that is more than 1 in 3 people).
• Nearly 832,000 deaths resulted from a cardiovascular disease. Of these, 18 percent were under the age of 65.
• Some good news: The death rates for CVD declined 29 percent between 1996 and 2006.
• 17.6 million suffered from coronary heart disease (CHD), the most common type of CHD being coronary artery disease (CAD).
• 8.5 million Americans suffered an acute heart attack (myocardial infarction).
• 10 million suffered from severe chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart muscles, known as angina (pectoris).
• 6.4 million suffered a stroke.
• 5.8 million had heart failure.
• 74 million American people had high blood pressure.
• 36 million people had a cholesterol count of 240 or above, considered high risk.
• 6 million have a heart catheterization every year.
• 1.5 million have a coronary angiography every year.

• 427,000 heart bypass surgeries are performed every year.

Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) Statistics

Coronary heart disease (CHD) refers to heart diseases which cause the failure of the coronary circulation system to provide adequate blood to the heart's muscles and surrounding tissues. It is sometimes referred to as Coronary artery disease (CAD), although CAD is only one type of CHD (although it is by far the most common). CHD can have other causes such as coronary vasospasm. However, most articles when discussing CHD and CAD use the terms interchangeably. CHD causes chest pain (angina) and heart attacks.

In 2006:

• There were 17.6 million reported cases of CHD.
• CHD caused 425,000 deaths in America, making it the leading cause of death, ahead of cancer (see Cancer Guide).
• CHD death rates declined by a massive 36 percent between 1996 and 2006.
• Nearly 75 percent of CHD deaths occurred in an emergency department, or before a person had time to reach a hospital.
• 6.5 percent of all adult white Americans had CHD.
• 5.6 percent of all adult black Americans had CHD.
• 5.7 percent of all adult Hispanic Americans had CHD.
• 2.9 percent of all adult Asian Americans had CHD.
• 6.6 percent of all adult American Indians or Alaska natives had CHD.
• The following had the highest incidences of CHD related deaths: District of Columbia, New York and Oklahoma (in that order).
• 418,000 cardiac pacemaker procedures were performed.
• In 2010 the estimated direct and indirect cost of CHD in America was $177 billion.

Heart Attack Statistics

A heart attack occurs when one or more of the arteries which supply blood to the heart become blocked, restricting supply to the heart and surrounding muscle tissue. The process usually begins with atherosclerosis, the build-up of plaque (fatty deposits) inside the artery walls. The plaque can rupture, causing red blood cells to clot and a blockage occurs. If the blood supply is completely cut off for even a few minutes, damage occurs to the heart muscle, causing either permanent injury (disability) or death. Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is different in that the heart stops beating suddenly. The underlying cause is an irregular heart rhythm that causes the heart to suddenly stop pumping blood. Brain damage can occur within 4 to 6 minutes after the heart stops pumping blood which is why instant CPR (and defibrillation) is critical. See: Heart Attacks in Women for more information.

In 2006:

• 1.5 million heart attacks occurred.
• 500,000 deaths directly resulted from heart attacks.
• Nearly half of all deaths occur within 1 hour of the heart attack.
• Every 34 seconds one American will suffer a heart attack.

Stroke Statistics

A stroke happens when a blood vessel in the brain bursts or is clogged by a clot or other particles. The blockage means that the brain does not receive the blood, oxygen and other nutrients that it needs. Deprived of oxygen the nerve cells in the affected area of the brain begin to immediately die. There are 2 main types of strokes: ischemic strokes (caused by blood clots or other substances and by far the most common type) and hemorrhagic strokes (caused by bleeding from a burst blood vessel).

• Every year 700,000 Americans suffer a new or repeated stroke.
• Over 150,000 of these people will die, making stroke the 3rd largest killer after CHD and cancer.
• Currently there are about 5.7 million Americans living who have survived strokes, many are living with permanent disabilities.
• Women account for 60 percent of all stroke deaths. See Stroke in Women.
• The death rate from strokes declined 33 percent between 1995 and 2005.
• The following had the highest incidences of stroke related deaths: Arkansas, Alabama and Tennessee (in that order).

New Study: A 2011 Dutch of 250 patients demonstrated that coffee, sexual intercourse and blowing your nose can increase the risk of stroke. 10 percent of burst brain aneurysms were blamed on coffee, 8 percent on vigorous exercise, 5 percent on nose blowing, 4 percent on sex and 3.5 percent on drinking cola.

Interesting: Read about the 24 Hour Holter Monitor Test.

Angina Statistics

Angina (pectoris) literally means pain of the chest. Although angina is not always a precursor to a heart attack, even an occasional angina attack can be a sign of serious coronary artery disease. Angina is a symptom rather than a condition. It is described as a tight feeling across the chest which can be suffocating and can radiate to the throat, neck and arms. Typically attacks are bought on by physical activity or emotional stress and last a few minutes. Attacks are relieved by rest.

• 18 percent of coronary heart attacks were preceded by angina (ref: Framingham Heart Study).
• 6.3 million Americans currently have angina.
• 10-15 percent of all women over 65 have angina.
• 10-20 percent of all men over 65 have angina.
• Prevalence increases with age in women, angina is much more common in women after the age of 75.
• More women than men experience angina after emotional stress.

Congenital Cardiovascular Defects Statistics

Also known as congenital heart defects, these conditions arise from structural problems from abnormal formation of the heart or major blood vessels.

• Currently there is no definite data indicating the prevalence of congenital heart defects in the United States. It was estimated to be between 650,000 and 1.3 million in 2002.
• 36,000 babies are estimated to be born with a heart defect every year.
• Some studies indicate that nearly 5 percent of all babies born in America have muscular ventricular septal defects. These defects mostly close up naturally and do not require treatment.
• 29 percent of infants, who die from birth defects, die as a result of a heart defect.
• In 2003, the most expensive neonatal cost for children in hospitals was for the procedure to treat hypoplastic left heart (nearly $200,000).

Heart Failure Statistics

Congestive heart failure or heart failure, is a general term to describe a situation where the heart either cannot pump enough blood around the body or that it cannot fill with enough blood. It causes shortness of breath, fatigue and swelling in the legs, especially while exercising. There is no common accepted definition of heart failure and it appears to be a syndrome rather than a diagnosis. It is caused by cardiac dysfunction, and is usually progressive and fatal.

• 5.8 million Americans were living with heart failure in 2006.
• 75 percent of cases had hypertension.
• By the age of 40 the risk to the average American of developing heart failure is 1 in 5.
• The risk doubles for those with high blood pressure (160/90 mm Hg).
• One in 5 with heart failure dies within a year.
• The estimated direct and indirect cost of heart failure to the American economy is $40 billion a year.

Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) Stats

PAD is a disease which affects the peripheral arteries of the body. Plaque builds up in the arteries which carry blood to the limbs, organs and head. In particular it affects blood flow to the legs. Symptoms range from leg cramps to pain while walking.

• PAD affects about 8 million Americans a year.
• The rate of occurrence appears to be evenly split between men and women.
• Only 10 percent of people with PAD report classic symptoms (leg pain). About 40 percent experience no leg pain while 50 percent have a variety of leg symptoms.
Diabetes and smoking cigarettes are particularly strong risk factors for PAD.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is also known as sudden cardiac death. It strikes out of the blue causing the heart to stop beating. The person loses consciousness and stops breathing.

• SCA is a leading cause of death in the US claiming about 325,000 lives each year.
• It kills 1,000 people a day or one person every 2 minutes.
• It most frequently occurs in patients with heart disease, particularly those who with congestive heart failure and those who have had a heart attack.
• About 95 percent of victims die before they reach a hospital or other source of emergency help.
• Nearly 75 percent of people who die of SCA show signs of a previous heart attack (although it may have been a silent heart attack which does not show symptoms). 80 percent have signs of coronary artery disease.

  Related Articles on Heart Disease Statistics

For more about heart problems in women, see the following:

Risk Factors for Heart Disease
Heart Disease in Pregnancy

Back To Homepage: Womens Health Advice

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