Costs & Consequences

Heart disease and stroke can be fatal, but they can also lead to serious illness, disability, and lower 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.

Key Facts

Together, heart disease and stroke are among the most widespread and costly health problems facing the nation today. On a personal level, families who experience heart disease or stroke have to deal with not only medical bills but also lost wages and the real potential of a decreased standard of living.

  • Approximately 1.5 million heart attacks and strokes occur every year in the United States.
  • More than 800,000 people in the United States die from cardiovascular disease each year—that’s 1 in every 3 deaths, and about 160,000 of them occur in people under age 65.
  • Heart disease kills roughly the same number of people in the United States each year as cancer, lower respiratory diseases (including pneumonia), and accidents combined.
  • Heart disease and stroke cost the nation an estimated $316.6 billion in health care costs and lost productivity in 2011.

More Information

Learn more from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Video: John's Story
Video: Andrea's Story
Page last reviewed: February 26, 2021