Living with a heart disease diagnosis is a reality for many Americans. This disease affects huge numbers of people each year, as well as their loved ones—in fact, it’s the leading cause of death for American men and women.
One of the most important things you can do to manage your health is to keep yourself informed about serious diagnoses like heart disease. Though there are a few lifestyle choices you can make to lessen your risk of developing heart disease, it can also be an out-of-the-blue diagnosis for many people.
Read on for 93 heart disease facts and statistics that can help keep you informed about heart disease treatments, mortality rates, and risk factors.
Diagnosing heart disease
Heart disease and its related illnesses (like cardiovascular disease and coronary artery disease) are frequently diagnosed to a wide range of people. Knowing the numbers behind heart disease diagnoses can help you feel less alone if you or a loved one has recently received that diagnosis, while keeping you informed.
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are a group of disorders that affect the blood vessels and heart, including (World Health Organization):
Silent heart attacks, which are heart attacks experienced without typical cardiac symptoms, may account for up to one-half of heart attacks in the general population. (Journal of the American Heart Association)
A heart attack or stroke may be the first sign of disease, as there are often no symptoms that signify an underlying heart disease or disease of the blood vessels. Heart attack symptoms include pain or discomfort in the following areas (WHO):
Center of chest
Each year, more than 800,000 people in the U.S. will have a heart attack. (CDC)
More than 600,000 of these are a first heart attack
200,000 are experienced by people who have had a heart attack before
Knowing the symptoms and risk factors of developing heart disease, along with how to treat and manage a heart disease diagnosis, can all make a difference for you or a loved one.
The following lifestyle changes have all been demonstrated to reduce the risk of developing CVD (WHO):
Avoiding harmful alcohol usage
Eating more fruit and vegetables
Eliminating tobacco use
Engaging in regular aerobic activity
Reducing the amount of salt in the diet
7.2% of emergency department visits were due to CAD, ischemic heart disease, or history of myocardial infarction. (CDC)
According to the WHO, surgical operations are sometimes required to treat CVDs, including:
Artificial heart operations
Coronary artery bypass
Valve replacement and repair
According to the WHO, CVDs may sometimes require treatment with medical devices, such as:
Patches for closing holes in the heart
From 2016 to 2017, treating heart disease cost the U.S. more than $363 billion. This includes the cost of the following: (CDC)
Facts about heart disease risk factors
There are certain behaviors, lifestyle decisions, and outside factors that can increase the risk of developing heart disease.
The behaviors that put people at risk of developing heart disease and stroke include an unhealthy diet, tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, and physical inactivity. (WHO)
The effects of the above behavioral factors may cause the following intermediate risk factors that indicate a higher risk of stroke, heart failure, heart attack, and additional difficulties: (WHO)
Overweight or obesity
Raised blood glucose
Raised blood lipids
Raised blood pressure
The American Heart Association lists seven key health behaviors and factors that put people more at risk for developing heart disease or having a stroke:
Not controlling blood pressure
Not controlling blood sugar
Not controlling body weight
Not controlling cholesterol
Not engaging in physical activity
Not having a healthy diet
There are several other factors that may be responsible for a higher incidence of CVDs, including (WHO ):
The CDC identifies three key risk factors for developing heart disease:
High blood pressure
Heart disease may sound scary, but knowing the numbers behind diagnoses, mortality rates, and treatment can help you be more informed about how to better care for yourself and your health. As an added step, consider an at-home heart health lab test for a comprehensive look at your heart health.