Heart Disease in the United States

  • About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.1
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. More than halfof the deaths due to heart disease in 2009 were in men.1
  • Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the most common type of heart disease, killing over 370,000 people annually.1
  • Every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of these, 525,000 are a first heart attack and 210,000 happen in people who have already had a heart attack.2

Heart Disease Deaths Vary by Race and Ethnicity

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people of most ethnicities in the United States, including African Americans, Hispanics, and whites. For American Indians or Alaska Natives and Asians or Pacific Islanders, heart disease is second only to cancer. Below are the percentages of all deaths caused by heart disease in 2008, listed by ethnicity.4

Race of Ethnic Group % of Deaths
American Indians or Alaska Natives 18.4
Asians or Pacific Islanders 22.2
Non-Hispanic Blacks 23.8
Non-Hispanic Whites 23.8
All 23.5

 

Americans at Risk for Heart Disease

High blood pressurehigh cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease. About half of Americans (47%) have at least one of these three risk factors.7

Several other medical conditions and lifestyle choices can also put people at a higher risk for heart disease, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Poor diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Excessive alcohol use