Risks for Heart Disease & Stroke

About 1.5 million heart attacks and strokes happen every year in the United States. You can’t change some of your risks for heart disease and stroke, but you can manage many of your risks by following a healthy lifestyle.

Following a heart attack approximately 1 in 4 women will die within the first year. compared to 1 in 5 men
One American dies from stroke every 4 minutes on average
90% of Americans consume too much sodium, increase their risk for high blood pressure, a major contributor to heart disease and stroke.
Many Americans have a risk for cardiovascular disease

Key Facts

Many risks for heart disease and stroke—including high blood pressure and high cholesterol—may not have any symptoms. Many of these risks—specifically high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and obesity—are preventable and controllable. Controlling these risks could reduce your risk for heart attack or stroke by more than 80%.

  • About 160,000 people who died from cardiovascular disease in 2014 were younger than age 65.
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for all adults in the United States. Some minority groups are more likely to be affected than others: African Americans have the highest rate of high blood pressure of all population groups, and they tend to develop it earlier in life than others.
  • Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death for U.S. adults, but the risk of having a stroke varies. Compared to whites, African Americans are nearly twice as likely to have a first stroke. Hispanic Americans' risk falls between the two. African Americans and Hispanics are more likely to die following a stroke than are whites.
  • Individuals with low incomes are much more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attack, and stroke than their high-income peers.
  • The country's highest death rates due to stroke are in the southeastern United States.

More Information

Learn more from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Video: Know Your Risk Factors

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/GQ0f7-ksmGI?version=3&hl=en_US">John's Story: Heart Attack to Heart Health</a>

Video: José’s Story

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/rVIB_vjD6x0?version=3&hl=en_US">Know Your Risk Factors</a>


Explore Million Hearts® events and activities near you.

Learn more >