Cardiovascular disease in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts

Cardiovascular disease includes diseases of the heart and blood vessel circulation. Included in this class of diseases are heart failure, rheumatic heart disease, hypertensive heart disease, myocardial infarction and stroke. Ischemic heart disease and stroke were the leading causes of death worldwide in 2015, killing some 8.8 and 6.2 million people, respectively.

Heart disease was similarly the leading cause of death in the United States in 2015, however, the death rate from heart disease in the U.S. has decreased steadily since the 1950s, with 168.5 deaths per 100,000 population in 2015. In that same year, coronary heart disease accounted for around 44 percent of all cardiovascular deaths followed by stroke and heart failure. Death from heart disease disproportionately affects older people and regional differences are clear in the U.S., with four of the five states with the highest death rates from heart disease found in the South.

The costs of cardiovascular disease to the United States are difficult to measure, but inarguably great. It was estimated that from 2013 to 2014, indirect costs from such disease, including lost productivity and mortality, reached around 130.5 billion U.S. dollars. Furthermore, the costs of various types of cardiovascular disease are expected to increase in the coming years. The cost of coronary heart disease, for example, is estimated to rise from 182 billion dollars in 2015 to around 322 billion in 2030.

A common and preventable cause of some cardiovascular diseases, including stroke and heart failure, is high blood pressure or hypertension. From 2011 to 2014, it was estimated that 31 percent of males and 29.7 percent of females had hypertension. Perhaps more troubling than the high prevalence rate of this risk factor is that a large portion of those with hypertension do not take any measures to control it. Hypertension and cardiovascular disease are preventable through a healthy diet and exercise and avoiding risk factors such as smoking and drinking alcohol. A person’s chance of developing coronary heart disease and stroke are increased four times by smoking tobacco.

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