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Health Topics - Heart Disease and Heart Attack

Heart Disease costs the United States about $219 billion each year


Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and most racial/ethnic groups in the United States, including African Americans, Hispanics, and whites. About 610,000 Americans die from heart disease every year—that’s 1 of every 4 deaths. Heart disease is the term used for several types of problems affecting the heart. The most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease, which affects the blood flow to the heart.1 Decreased blood flow can cause a heart attack. Every year, 735,000 Americans have a heart attack.2

Economic Burden

Heart disease costs the United States about $207 billion each year.1 This total includes the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity.

Risk Factors

The three key risk factors for heart disease are2:

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High Blood Pressure

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High cholesterol

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Several other medical conditions and lifestyle choices can also put people at a higher risk for heart diesease, including2:

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Overweight and obesity

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Poor diet

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Physical inactivity

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Excessive alcohol use

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The Well-Integrated Screening and Evaluation for Women Across the Nation (WISEWOMAN) program was created to help women understand and reduce their risk for heart disease and stroke by providing services to promote lasting heart-healthy lifestyles. Working with low-income, uninsured and underinsured women aged 40 to 64 years, the program provides heart disease and stroke risk factor screenings and services that promote healthy behaviors. The WISEWOMAN program currently consists of 21 programs in 19 states and 2 tribal organizations, and is administered through CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention (DHDSP).

State Public Health Actions to Prevent, Manage, and Reduce the Risk Factors Associated with Chronic Diseases5

Funded by CDC, State Public Health Actions is a national program that provides funding to all 50 states and the District of Columbia (DC) to focus on underlying strategies that address multiple chronic diseases including heart disease. All states must put into action key strategies such as promotion of the adoption of food service guidelines and nutrition standards, which include sodium. Additional resources are provided to 32 states to enable more intensive interventions and greater health outcomes for these chronic conditions. As related to cardiovascular health, those states are putting into action strategies such as those to increase implementation of quality improvement processes in health systems and use of team-based care in health systems.

Featured Resources

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Million Hearts® Medication Adherence Resourcesexternal icon

This page includes numerous materials to implement policy and program strategies, including educating patients, simplifying treatment, and coordinating patient care across the health care team, can improve adherence.

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Million Hearts® Medical Practice Protocol Resourcesexternal icon

Find standardized, evidence-based protocols for use in medical practices. When embedded in electronic health records, treatment protocols can serve as clinical decision support at the point of care so no opportunities are missed to achieve control.

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6|18 Evidence Summary (Control High Blood Pressure)

CDC’s 6|18 initiative provides health care partners with rigorous evidence about high-burden health conditions and associated interventions to inform their decisions to have the greatest health and cost impact. This summary provides a look at high blood pressure in the United States, evidence of the effectiveness of prevention programs, and current payer coverage for these programs.

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Million Hearts® Action Guidesexternal icon

The Million Hearts® Action Guide series provides clinicians, employers, and public health practitioners with evidence-based strategies for improving cardiovascular health. Each guide offers action steps and features proven tactics to help more Americans live heart-healthy, stroke-free lives.

Featured Tools

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National Cardiovascular Disease Surveillance System (NCVDSS)

This system integrates multiple indicators from many data sources to provide a comprehensive picture of the public health burden of heart disease and stroke and associated risk factors in the United States. Interactive data trends and maps can be created and viewed.

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The Million Hearts® Hypertension Prevalence Estimator Tool

The Million Hearts® Hypertension Prevalence Estimator Tool provides the user with a health system’s expected hypertension prevalence, which is the estimated percentage of patients receiving care within the health system who have hypertension.

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Heart Disease and Stroke Map Widget

This web tool allows state and local health departments and other organizations to add state- and county-level maps of heart disease and stroke to their websites. The maps are automatically updated by CDC and require no technical maintenance after they are added.

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CDC Sortable Stats

Sortable Stats is an interactive data set comprised of behavioral risk factors and health indicators. This site compiles data from various published CDC and federal sources into a format that allows users to view, sort, and analyze data at state/territory, regional, and national levels.