U.S. Heart Disease Statistics

Heart Disease Deaths Mortality

In 2016, heart disease caused

635,260 deaths

—Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, resulting in about one in every four deaths. Every minute, someone in the United States dies from a heart disease-related event. [1] The most common form of heart disease in the United States is coronary artery disease which limits blood-flow to the heart. A complete blockage of blood results in a heart attack. 

Certain populations are more at risk of contracting heart disease. This includes people with abnormal heartbeats or heart defects, high body mass indexes, or diabetes. In addition, negative lifestyle choices can increase risk of heart disease including poor diet, smoking, and excessive drinking.

While heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States, since 1999 the rate of deaths by heart disease has decreased. Factors related to this decline may include a concurrent decline in tobacco use, along with major advances in medical technology and treatment [2]. Despite the decline, in recent years the trend has flattened.  

How do heart disease statistics vary by state?

How do heart disease statistics vary by demographics?

By Sex

While heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, men die at higher rates from heart disease than women. [1] The death rate has also been decreasing for both men and women. 

By Race

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for whites and African Americans. For American Indians/Alaska Natives and Asians/Pacific Islanders, heart disease is the second leading cause of death, after cancer [1]. 

Age-adjusted rate. Source: CDC Wonder.

By Age

As the chart below shows, deaths from heart disease disproportionately affect the elderly. On a national level, the age group most affected are people greater than 85 years. 

More Information on Heart Disease 

In 2013, the American Heart Association published a list of 7 key health factors to indicate ideal cardiovascular health and avoid heart disease causes [3]. They include: 

• A Blood Pressure below 120/80 mm Hg

• 60+ Minutes/day of Vigorous Physical Activity for children, 75+ minutes for adults

• Healthy Levels of Cholesterol below 170 mg/dl

• Healthy Diet

• Healthy Weight

• Quitting or never starting smoking

• Blood Sugar below 100 mg/dl


This video describes the causes of heart disease. Source: American Heart Association. 

References

1. “Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015.

2. “Decline in Cardiovascular Mortality: Possible Causes and Implications.” National Institutes of Health, 2018. 

3. “American Heart Association 2020 Impact Goal.” American Heart Association, 2013.

About the Data

Mortality data in this story was queried from the CDC Wonder API, based on the following parameters:

• UCD codes: [I00-I02,I05-I09,I11,I13,I20-I25,I26-I28,I30-I51].

The charts show the CDC's age-adjusted rate, rather than crude rate, to account for variations in age-distribution and population size—with the exception of the chart comparing rates by age group.