Heart Disease Facts

Learn more about heart disease and its risk factors. It’s important for everyone to know the facts about heart disease.

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.1
  • One person dies every 33 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease.1
  • About 695,000 people in the United States died from heart disease in 2021—that’s 1 in every 5 deaths.1,2
  • Heart disease cost the United States about $239.9 billion each year from 2018 to 2019.3 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 375,476 people in 2021.2
  • About 1 in 20 adults age 20 and older have CAD (about 5%).2
  • In 2021, about 2 in 10 deaths from CAD happen in adults less than 65 years old.1

Early Action Is Important for Heart Attack

Know the warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack.

Heart Attack

  • In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds.2
  • Every year, about 805,000 people in the United States have a heart attack.Of these,
    • 605,000 are a first heart attack2
    • 200,000 happen to people who have already had a heart attack2
    • About 1 in 5 heart attacks are silent—the damage is done, but the person is not aware of it.2

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.1

Below are the percentages of all deaths caused by heart disease in 2021, listed by ethnicity, race, and sex.1

Percentages of all deaths caused by heart disease in 2015 by ethnicity, race, and sex.
Race of Ethnic Group % of Deaths
American Indian or Alaska Native 15.5
Asian 18.6
Black (Non-Hispanic) 22.6
Native Hawaiin or Other Pacific Islander 18.3
White (Non-Hispanic) 18.0
Hispanic 11.9
All 17.4

Americans at Risk for Heart Disease

Heart Disease Facts

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 pressurehigh 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:

CDC Public Health Efforts Related to Heart Disease

More Information


  1. National Center for Health Statistics. Multiple Cause of Death 2018–2021 on CDC WONDER Database. Accessed February 2, 2023.
  2. Tsao CW, Aday AW, Almarzooq ZI, Beaton AZ, Bittencourt MS, Boehme AK, et al. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2023 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2023;147:e93–e621.
  3. National Center for Health Statistics. Percentage of coronary heart disease for adults aged 18 and over, United States, 2019—2021. National Health Interview Survey. Accessed February 17, 2023.
  4. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS): household component summary tables: medical conditions, United States. Accessed April 8, 2021.