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About Heart Disease & Stroke

Consequences & Costs

Americans suffer 1.5 million heart attacks and strokes each year. Cardiovascular disease—including heart disease and stroke—is the leading cause of death in the United States. Every day, 2,200 people die from cardiovascular diseases—that's nearly 800,000 Americans each year, or 1 in every 3 deaths.

Heart disease and stroke can be fatal, but they can also result in serious illness, disability, and decreased quality of life. Suffering a stroke may lead to significant disability, such as paralysis, speech difficulties, and emotional problems. Following a heart attack, individuals frequently suffer fatigue and depression, and they may find it more difficult to engage in physical activities. Heart disease and stroke are among the leading causes of disability in the United States, with more than 3 million people reporting disability from these causes.

Cost of Heart Disease & Stroke to the United States

Together, heart disease and stroke are among the most widespread and costly health problems facing the nation today, accounting for more than $312.6 billion* in health care expenditures and lost productivity annually—and these costs are rising. On a personal level, families who experience heart disease or stroke not only have to deal with medical bills but also lost wages and the real potential of a decreased standard of living.

American's Heart Disease Burden

Heart Disease Deaths

  • Each year, about 600,000 people die of heart disease. Of these,
    • More than 385,000 people die of coronary heart disease.
    • About 125,000 die from heart attack.
    • More than 55,000 people die of heart failure as the primary cause of death.

Heart Attacks

  • Each year, about 715,000 people in the United States have a heart attack.
    • About 525,000 of these are first or new heart attacks.
    • About 190,000 people who have survived a heart attack go on to have another.
  • Nearly 8 million people in the United States (3%) have had a heart attack.
  • Every 44 seconds someone in the United States has a heart attack.

American's Stroke Burden

Stroke Rates

  • Each year, more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke.
    • About 610,000 of these are first or new strokes.
    • About 185,000 people who survive a stroke go on to have another.
  • Stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disability.

Stroke Deaths

  • Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women.
    • People of all ages and backgrounds can have a stroke.
    • In 2006, 6 out of every 10 deaths due to stroke were in women. Lifetime rise for stroke is higher in women than in men because women have a longer life expectancy. Stroke rates increase substantially with age.
  • Each year, nearly 130,000 people in the United States die of stroke, accounting for nearly 1 in every 19 deaths. Only heart disease and cancer kill more people.
  • On average, every 4 minutes someone dies of a stroke.

*Note: In 2011, the American Heart Association (AHA) published two sets of costs for cardiovascular disease data; one that included a limited set of direct costs ($312.6 billion), and one that projected future costs ($444 billion). AHA has since decided to only track the direct cost estimate. The reported direct medical expenses are lower than previously reported estimates because they no longer include nursing home costs or loss of productivity from morbidity from indirect costs. This new, more conservative method reflects actual costs and minimizes the risk of double counting. While lower than previous reported estimates, these figures remain a substantial portion of our nation’s health care expenditures, and do not show any signs of decreasing.

Key Facts