12 Things You Should Know About Heart Disease

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What is the leading cause of death in the U.S.?
Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. for both men and women.1

How many deaths in the U.S. are caused by coronary heart disease?
Coronary heart disease accounts for 25 percent of all deaths in the U.S.2

How many heart attacks happen in the U.S. every year?
Heart disease can lead to heart attacks. Every year 715,000 Americans suffer heart attacks.3

What's the average age when someone has a heart attack?
On average, women have their first heart attack at age 70; men have their first heart attack at age 66.6.4, 5,6

Does diabetes affect heart disease risk?
People with diabetes are at an increased risk of heart disease.5

What is the economic impact in the U.S. of heart disease?
According to the American Heart Association, in 2010 all cardiovascular diseases together were projected to cost $108.9 billion, including healthcare services, medications, and lost productivity.3

How does heart disease risk change with age?
Your risk of heart disease increases three times with each decade you age.6

Does heart disease tend to affect men and women at the same ages?
On average, men who develop heart disease do so about 10 to 15 years earlier than women.6

How many Americans are at risk for heart disease?
Forty-nine percent of all Americans have either high blood pressure or high LDL cholesterol, smoke, or have some combination of these three key risk factors for heart disease.3

Does heart disease risk vary by race?
Whites have one of the highest rates of heart disease deaths, at 25.1 percent. African-Americans have the second-highest death rate from the disease, at 24.5 percent. Asians and Pacific Islanders have a 23.2 percent rate of heart disease deaths.3

How many older people with Medicaid have cardiovascular illness?
Of all individuals over the age of 65 with Medicaid coverage, 91 percent have a history of some type of cardiovascular illness. This number drops down to 53 percent of Medicaid recipients when all ages are taken into account.7

How old are people who get heart transplants?
Fifty-eight percent of heart-transplant recipients are age 50 or older.8

Find In-Home Care to Help With Heart Disease Caregiving


1. "Coronary Heart Disease." PubMed Health, U.S. National Library of Medicine. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0004449/ Review date June 22, 2012.
2. "Heart Disease: Frequently Asked Questions." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/faqs.htm Last reviewed April 9, 2012.
3. "Heart Disease Facts." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm Page last reviewed October 16, 2012.
4. "What Are Heart Disease and Stroke?" American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/What-Are-Heart-Disease-and-Stroke_UCM_308835_Article.jsp Accessed March 16, 2013.
5. "Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes." American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Diabetes/WhyDiabetesMatters/Cardiovascular-Disease-Diabetes_UCM_313865_Article.jsp Updated January 31, 2013.
6. "Aging and Heart Disease." HeartHealthyWomen.org. http://www.hearthealthywomen.org/am-i-at-risk/age-a-menopause/age-a-menopause.html Accessed March 16, 2013.
7. "Critical Coverage for Heart Health: Medicaid and Cardiovascular Disease." American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@adv/documents/downloadable/ucm_426261.pdf February 2012.
8. "Older Americans and Cardiovascular Diseases: Statistical Fact Sheet 2013 Update." American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@sop/@smd/documents/downloadable/ucm_319574.pdf January 2013.