Heart Disease Statistics and Risk Factors

With a breakdown by population

From 1990 to 2019, cardiovascular disease cases almost doubled, increasing from 271 million to 523 million worldwide. Deaths from heart disease also increased, from 12.1 million in 1990 to 18.6 million in 2019.

Here are more statistics about heart disease that you’ll want to know, including types of cardiovascular disease, heart disease stats by population groups, and how to lower your risk.

Red heart shown beside a stethoscope and EKG chart.

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What Is Heart Disease?

Heart disease is a broad term for many different heart conditions. This can include coronary heart disease, a heart attack, or heart failure. Examples of heart disease symptoms include:

  • Heart/chest palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Problems catching your breath or shortness of breath (dyspnea)
  • Tightness in the chest area
  • Edema (swelling)

Types of Cardiovascular Disease

There are a wide range of cardiovascular diseases. The most common type is coronary artery disease. This refers to problems with the blood vessels of the heart, including blockages. These blockages can cause a lowered blood flow to the heart, increasing the risk for a heart attack.

Stroke is another type of cardiovascular disease. A stroke happens when blood flow to the brain is fully or partially blocked. In the United States, heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases cause one in three deaths.

Other types of cardiovascular diseases include:

  • Aortic disease: A problem with the blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the brain and the body
  • Arrhythmia: Abnormal heart rates or rhythms
  • Cerebrovascular disease: Blockages or narrowing within the blood vessels that carry blood to the brain
  • Congenital heart disease: A heart problem that you are born with (There are several types of congenital heart disease.)
  • Deep vein thrombosis: A blockage or blockages in the vessels that carry blood from the brain or body to the heart
  • Heart failure: Difficulty with heart pumping that can cause a buildup of fluid
  • Pericardial disease: A problem with the lining of the heart
  • Peripheral artery disease: A blockage or narrowing in the blood vessels of the abdominal organs, arms, or legs
  • Valve disease: A problem with the valves of the heart (The heart valves help blood move from one chamber of the heart to its other chambers.)

Health Cost in America

  • From 2016 to 2017, the direct and indirect costs associated with cardiovascular disease were $363.4 billion. That includes $216 billion in direct costs and $147.4 billion in lost productivity and mortality.
  • Cardiovascular disease and stroke accounted for 13% of all healthcare expenditures from 2014 to 2015, more than any other diagnostic group.
  • Heart attacks and coronary heart disease were two of the 10 most costly conditions that were treated in U.S. hospitals in 2013, tallying a respective $12.1 billion and $9 billion.
  • The National Institutes of Health is projected to spend $1.6 billion on heart disease research in 2022, with an additional $430 million focused specifically on coronary heart disease.
  • Nearly one in six U.S. healthcare dollars is spent on cardiovascular care.

Statistics

While it’s clear that heart disease has a large impact on everyone, some population groups have a greater incidence of certain heart diseases. Here’s a closer look at some statistics related to heart disease by age, race and ethnicity, and other factors.

By Age

Your risk for cardiovascular disease increases as you get older. Here are some statistics regarding heart and cardiovascular disease by age:

  • An estimated 18.2 million adults, or 6.7% of the U.S. adult population age 20 or older, have coronary artery disease.
  • Approximately six million American adults have heart failure. This number continues to increase due to aging of the population.
  • More than one in three adults has at least one type of cardiovascular disease. Nearly half of them are age 60 or older.
  • Fifty-one percent of heart procedures are performed in those age 65 and older.

By Gender

  • By ages 60 to 79, 70.2% of men and 70.9% of women have some type of cardiovascular disease. By age 80 and above, that increases to 83% of men and 87.1% of women.
  • Heart disease is the leading killer for both men and women.
  • Heart disease accounts for one in every five female deaths and one in every four male deaths.
  • Fifty percent of men who die of coronary heart disease did not have any previous symptoms.

By Race and Ethnicity

  • An estimated one in 13 (7.7%) White men have coronary heart disease, compared with one in 14 (7.1%) of Black men. Among Hispanic men, one in 17 (5.9%) have coronary heart disease.
  • The largest percentage of deaths from heart disease occurs in Whites (23.7%), followed by Blacks (23.5%), Asian American/Pacific Islanders (21.4%), Hispanics (20.3%), and American Indian/Alaskan Natives (18.3%).
  • Forty-seven percent of Blacks have cardiovascular disease, the highest rate when compared with other races.
  • Blacks are two to three more times likely to die of heart disease than Whites.

By State

The states with the highest number of cardiovascular deaths among those age 35 and older are:

  1. Mississippi
  2. Oklahoma
  3. Alabama
  4. Arkansas
  5. Louisiana
  6. Tennessee
  7. West Virginia
  8. Kentucky
  9. Nevada
  10. Michigan

There are more cardiovascular disease and related deaths in Southern states because of more obesity, high blood pressure, and lack of physical activity in this area of the United States.

Worldwide

  • Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death not just in the United States, but also around the world.
  • More than 75% of cardiovascular disease deaths occur in middle- and low-income countries.
  • Thirty-two percent of all global deaths in 2019 were due to cardiovascular disease.
  • Several countries in Eastern Europe, Central and Southeast Asia, and Oceania have the highest rates of death from strokes.

By Heart Disease Type

  • Coronary heart disease made up 42% of deaths from cardiovascular disease in 2018, followed by stroke (17%), high blood pressure (11%), heart failure (9.6%), and diseases of the artery (2.9%). Other cardiovascular disease causes accounted for 17.4% of the total.
  • Someone in the United States will have a heart attack every 39 seconds.
  • In 2016, someone in the United States died of a stroke every three minutes and 33 seconds.

Risk Factors and Prevention

Many risk factors that can raise your chances for heart disease are within your control. These include:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Having diabetes
  • Having high cholesterol
  • Having high blood pressure
  • Not being physically active
  • Smoking
  • Eating an unhealthy diet

The strongest risk factors for heart disease are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Forty-seven percent of Americans have one or more of these factors.

Risk factors for heart disease and heart attacks that are out of your control include:

  • Being male: Males are at a higher risk, although the risk difference narrows once females are post-menopausal.
  • Genetics: If you have parents with heart disease, you’re more likely to develop it as well.
  • Increasing age: Most people who die from heart disease are over age 65. The risk for a heart attack and heart problems goes up with age because your heart may not work as well as it once did.
  • Race and ethnicity: Certain types of heart disease are more prevalent in people of certain races or ethnicities. For instance, Blacks have a higher risk of severe high blood pressure and heart disease than Whites. Heart disease risk is higher among Mexican Americans, American Indians, native Hawaiians, and some Asian Americans, partially because of more obesity and diabetes.

Even if you have factors for heart disease that are out of your control, you can still make changes to lower your chance of developing heart disease. Here are some tips to help prevent heart disease:

  • Don’t smoke. If you do smoke, ask your healthcare provider for tips to help you quit.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Watch your food choices. Do your best to eat lower amounts of saturated fat and sodium. Ask your doctor or a registered dietitian for help if you’re not sure what to eat.
  • Get moving. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week.
  • Try to reduce and manage stress.
  • Manage other conditions. If you have other health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, keep them under control. Use any medications as recommended by your healthcare provider and maintain regular health appointments.

Treatment

The treatment for heart disease depends on the type of heart problem that you have.

For instance, if you have high blood pressure, your healthcare provider may ask you to use medicines to reduce it. There are several types of medicines for high blood pressure, including:

In addition to medications, your healthcare provider may suggest that you eat a healthy diet that is low in salt, limit alcohol, and get regular physical activity.

If you have high cholesterol, particularly a type of cholesterol called LDL (also sometimes called “bad cholesterol”), your healthcare provider may prescribe a type of drug called a statin. Statin drugs can slow down the production of cholesterol in your liver.

Other medication types for high cholesterol include:

Your healthcare provider may advise you to follow a heart-healthy diet, get more physical activity, and maintain a healthy weight if you have high cholesterol.

Heart Disease Survival Rate

Survival with heart disease often depends on the type of heart disease that you have. With many heart diseases, you can lead a long, healthy life if you use the right medications and follow other lifestyle recommendations from your healthcare team.

Mortality Rate

The following statistics relate to heart disease mortality in the United States:

  • Heart disease is the number-one killer. This applies to both men and women, and to most racial and ethnic groups.
  • One person dies from cardiovascular disease every 36 seconds.
  • One in every four deaths is from heart disease, for a total of about 655,000 deaths each year.
  • Coronary heart disease killed 365,914 people in 2017. Two in 10 of those deaths occurred in adults under age 65.
  • Sudden cardiac arrest kills 325,000 people each year, which is higher than the combined death rate from breast cancer, lung cancer, and HIV/AIDS.

A Word from Verywell

Sometimes, statistics can just seem like numbers on a page. With heart disease statistics, it’s important to keep in mind that these are real people whose lives are affected.

Use the numbers to help motivate yourself to follow heart-healthy habits. This includes eating a diet low in salt and saturated fats, getting more physical activity, and quitting smoking. Your heart will thank you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the primary causes of heart disease?

High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking are the three top causes of heart disease.

Who is most likely to die of heart disease?

Women are more likely to die of heart disease. Black people are also 33% more likely to die of heart disease while in the hospital, regardless of the care received.

How many people have heart disease?

As of 2016, there were 121.5 million adults in the United States living with cardiovascular diseases. That’s 48% of the adult population.

How do you prevent heart disease?

You can help prevent heart disease by eating a heart-healthy diet, getting regular physical activity, not smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight.

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Article Sources
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