Heart Disease Facts

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Heart Disease Facts

September 24, 2020 7357
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Heart Disease in the United States

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States.
  • One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease.
  • About 655,000 Americans die from heart disease each year—that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.
  • Heart disease costs the United States about $219 billion each year from 2014 to 2015. This includes the cost of health care services, medicines, and lost productivity due to death.

Coronary Artery Disease

  • Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, killing 365,914 people in 2017.
  • About 18.2 million adults age 20 and older have CAD (about 6.7%).
  • About 2 in 10 deaths from CAD happen in adults less than 65 years old.

Heart Attack

  • In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds.
  • Every year, about 805,000 Americans have a heart attack, of these,
  • 605,000 are a first heart attack
  • 200,000 happen to people who have already had a heart attack
  • About 1 in 5 heart attacks is silent—the damage is done, but the person is not aware of it.

Heart Disease Deaths Vary by Sex, Race, and Ethnicity

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States, including African American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Hispanic, and white men. For women from the Pacific Islands and Asian American, American Indian, Alaska Native, and Hispanic women, heart disease is second only to cancer.
Below are the percentages of all deaths caused by heart disease in 2015, listed by ethnicity, race, and sex.
Race of Ethnic Group % of Deaths Men, % Women, %
American Indian or Alaska Native 18.3 19.4 17.0
Asian American or Pacific Islander 21.4 22.9 19.9
Black (Non-Hispanic) 23.5 23.9 23.1
White (Non-Hispanic) 23.7 24.9 22.5
Hispanic 20.3 20.6 19.9
All 23.4 24.4 22.3

Americans at Risk for Heart Disease


As plaque builds up in the arteries of a person with heart disease, the inside of the arteries begins to narrow, which lessens or blocks the flow of blood. Plaque can also rupture (break open). When it does, a blood clot can form on the plaque, blocking the flow of blood.
High blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease.
Several other medical conditions and lifestyle choices can also put people at a higher risk for heart disease, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Excessive alcohol use

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