Heart Disease Facts

Learn more about heart disease and its risk factors. It’s important for everyone to know the facts about heart disease pdf icon[PDF-243K].

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 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease.1
  • About 659,000 people in the United States die from heart disease each year—that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.2
  • Heart disease costs the United States about $363 billion each year from 2016 to 2017.2 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 360,900 people in 2019.4
  • About 18.2 million adults age 20 and older have CAD (about 6.7%).3
  • About 2 in 10 deaths from CAD happen in adults less than 65 years old.4

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.3
  • Every year, about 805,000 people in the United States have a heart attack.Of these,
    • 605,000 are a first heart attack3
    • 200,000 happen to people who have already had a heart attack3
    • About 1 in 5 heart attacks is silent—the damage is done, but the person is not aware of it.3

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.5

Below are the percentages of all deaths caused by heart disease in 2015, listed by ethnicity, race, and sex.5

Percentages of all deaths caused by heart disease in 2015 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

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

References

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Underlying Cause of Death, 1999–2018. CDC WONDER Online Database. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2018. Accessed March 12, 2020.
  2. Virani SS, Alonso A, Aparicio HJ, Benjamin EJ, Bittencourt MS, Callaway CW, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics—2021 update: a report from the American Heart Associationexternal icon. Circulation. 2021;143:e254–e743.
  3. Fryar CD, Chen T-C, Li X. Prevalence of uncontrolled risk factors for cardiovascular disease: United States, 1999–2010 pdf icon[PDF-494K]. NCHS data brief, no. 103. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics; 2012. Accessed May 9, 2019.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. About Multiple Cause of Death, 1999–2019. CDC WONDER Online Database website. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2019. Accessed February 1, 2021.
  5. Heron, M. Deaths: Leading causes for 2017pdf icon. National Vital Statistics Reports;68(6). Accessed November 19, 2019.