Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both women and men in the United States.
In 2002, 696,947 people died of heart disease (51% of them women). This was 29% of all U.S. deaths. The age-adjusted death rate was 241 per 100,000 population.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for American Indians and Alaska Natives, blacks, Hispanics, and whites. For Asians and Pacific Islanders, cancer is the leading cause of death (accounting for 26.1% of all deaths), heart disease is a close second (26.0%).
Heart disease crude death rates per 100,000 population for the five largest U.S. racial/ethnic groups are as follows: Hispanics, 72; Asians and Pacific Islanders, 78; American Indians, 80; blacks, 206; and whites, 259.
In 2002, age-adjusted death rates for diseases of the heart were 30% higher among African Americans than among whites. 2 Age-adjusted rates are used to compare populations with differing age distributions.
By state, age-adjusted death rates per 100,000 for diseases of the heart ranged from 165 (Minnesota) to 327 (Mississippi) in 2002.
Coronary heart disease is the principal type of heart disease. There were 494,392 people that died from coronary heart disease in 2002. That is about 71% of all heart disease deaths.
It is estimated that about 47% of cardiac deaths occur before emergency services or transport to a hospital.
In 2006, heart disease is projected to cost more than $258 billion, including health care services, medications, and lost productivity.
Worldwide, coronary heart disease kills more than 7 million people each year.
Risk factors for heart disease among adults (for years 1999-2002 unless noted):
Percentage of persons aged 20 years and older with hypertension or taking hypertension medications: 30.2%
Percentage of persons aged 20 years and older with high blood cholesterol: 17.3%
Percentage of persons aged 20 years and older with physician-diagnosed diabetes: 6.5%
Percentage of persons aged 20 years and older who are obese: 30.5%
Percentage of adults aged 18 years and older who are current cigarette smokers (2003): 21.6%
Percentage of adults aged 18 years and older who engage in no leisure-time physical activity (2003): 37.6%
In 2003, approximately 37% of adults reported having two or more of six risk factors for heart disease and stroke (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, current smoking, physical inactivity, and obesity).
Timely access to emergency cardiac care and survival is partly dependent on early recognition of heart attack symptoms and immediate action by calling emergency services. In a 2001 survey, most persons (95%) recognized chest pain as a heart attack symptom, but only 11% correctly classified all symptoms and knew to call 9-1-1 when someone was having a heart attack.
Studies among people with heart disease have shown that lowering high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure can reduce the risk of dying of heart disease, having a nonfatal heart attack, and needing heart bypass surgery or angioplasty.
Studies among people without heart disease have shown that lowering high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure can reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
Heart Disease Risk Factors
Some conditions as well as some lifestyle factors can put people at a higher risk for developing heart disease. In principle, all persons can take steps to lower their risk of heart disease and heart attack by addressing these risk factors. Control of risk factors is especially need by people who already have heart disease.