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.
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.
*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.