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Heart Health Library

Heart Disease Prevention - Heart Statistics

Statistics related to heart disease

Each year, heart disease is at the top of the list of the country's most serious health problems. In fact, statistics show that cardiovascular disease is America's leading health problem, and the leading cause of death. Consider the most recent statistics released by the American Heart Association:

  • Approximately 82 million people in this country suffer from some form of cardiovascular disease, causing about 2,200 deaths a day, averaging one death every 39 seconds.
  • Almost one out of every three deaths results from cardiovascular disease. 
  • The direct and indirect costs of cardiovascular disease and stroke are about $300 billion; this includes an increased cost of over $11 billion from 2007 to 2008.
  • An estimated 16 million U.S. adults carry the diagnosis of coronary heart disease.
  • Approximately 76 million U.S. adults carry the diagnosis of hypertension, an estimated 98 million carry the diagnosis of high cholesterol, and an estimated 18 million carry the diagnosis of diabetes.
  • It is estimated that an additional 7 million adults have undiagnosed diabetes and 81 million have pre-diabetes.
  • Heart failure carries a prevalence of well over 5 million U.S. adults.
  • Cardiovascular disease is the cause of more deaths than cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, and accidents combined.
  • It is a myth that heart disease is a man's disease. In fact, cardiovascular diseases are the number one killer of women (and men). These diseases currently claim the lives of over 400,000 females every year, compared with just under 400,000 men.
  • About one-third of cardiovascular disease deaths occurred prematurely, before age 75.
  • Rheumatic heart disease/rheumatic fever kills over 3,000 Americans each year.
  • On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies every 4 minutes from stroke.
  • Stroke is a leading cause of serious, long-term disability that accounts for more than half of all patients hospitalized for a neurological disease.
  • Women have a higher lifetime risk of stroke than men. Each year approximately 55,000 more women than men have a stroke.
  • Approximately 20 percent of U.S. adults smoke cigarettes, costing $193 billion per year.
  • An estimated 68 percent of U.S. adults are overweight or obese and 32 percent of children ages 2 to 19 are overweight or obese.

When compared with previous trends, the cardiovascular disease death rates have declined about 30 percent from 1998 to 2008, but there is a worsening prevalence of diabetes and obesity.

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Online Resources of Heart Center


 Treatment at MUSC:
 »Heart and Vascular Center



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