• Who is Affected by Cardiovascular Disease?

    Type Size
    The good news is that the U.S. death rate from cardiovascular disease – disease caused by the build-up of plaque in the body’s arteries that blocks blood flow to the heart, brain, other vital organs and muscles – declined by about 25 percent between 1994 and 2004, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).1

    The bad news is that cardiovascular disease continues to be the number one cause of death among Americans, claiming the lives of over 36 percent of the more than 2.4 million people who die each year in the U.S., or about 870,000 people (Cancer ranks second, killing nearly 23 percent of all those who die annually.) Over 148,000 Americans killed by cardiovascular disease in 2004 were under age 65.

    Almost 80 million Americans in 2005 were estimated to have some form of cardiovascular disease. Estimates by the AHA show the number of Americans affected by key cardiovascular conditions:
    • High blood pressure — 73 million
    • Coronary artery disease — 16 million
    • Heart attack — 8.1 million
    • Chest pain (angina) – 9.1 million
    • Stroke — 5.8 million
    • Heart failure — 5.3 million
    Coronary artery disease – America’s single leading cause of death

    Among all the forms of cardiovascular disease, coronary artery disease takes the most lives – and is the single leading cause of death in the U.S. today. Coronary artery disease, which occurs when blockages restrict or occlude blood flow through the arteries that supply the heart muscle with blood, caused more than 451,000 deaths in the United States in 2004. That’s one of every five deaths).

    Although the death rate from coronary artery disease, declined 33 percent between 1994 and 2004, it still remains high. In 2004, the death rate from coronary artery disease per 100,000 population was as follows:
    • 194.2 for white men
    • 223.9 for black men
    • 114.7 for white women
    • 148.7 for black women
    (The rates use the year 2000 standard population for age adjustment.)

    An estimated 1.2 million Americans will have a new or recurrent heart attack this year. And an estimated 16 million people alive today have a history of heart attack, angina pectoris or both. Of them, about 8.7 million are men and 7.3 million are women.

    1. American Heart Association web site: http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4478