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Statistics on Heart Disease

Statistics can help people better understand the serious impact that heart disease on our society. Perhaps the most telling statistics involve the fact that this condition is the number one cause of death in the United States. Other heart disease statistics indicate that 24.7 million people in the United States were living with the condition in 2004.

Heart Disease Statistics: The Numbers

Heart disease affects a large number of people in the United States. Take a look at the following statistics on heart disease:
  • In 2004, the total number of adults in the United States living with heart disease was 24.7 million. This represented 11.5 percent of the population.
  • Based on the 2001 statistics for heart disease, 4.4 million people were hospitalized because of heart disease, with an average hospital stay of 4.6 days.
  • Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. Based on 2003 data, 685,089 people died from heart disease.
  • Sixty-four million Americans (almost one-fourth of the population) have some form of cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke being the most common), which is responsible for more than 6 million hospitalizations each year.

Statistics on Heart Disease Risk Factors

Much of the burden of heart disease could be eliminated by reducing the effect of the six major heart disease risk factors:
Consider the following statistics:
  • About 90 percent of middle-aged Americans will develop high blood pressure in their lifetime, and nearly 70 percent of those who have it now do not have it under control.
  • Heart disease statistics from 2002 showed that more than 106 million people were told that they had total cholesterol levels that were above normal or high (200 mg/dL or higher).
  • An average reduction of just 12 to 13 mmHg in systolic blood pressure over four years of follow-up is associated with a 21 percent reduction in coronary heart disease, a 37 percent reduction in stroke, a 25 percent reduction in total deaths from cardiovascular disease, and a 13 percent reduction in overall death rates.
  • A 10 percent reduction in cholesterol levels can result in a 30 percent reduction in the incidence of heart attacks and strokes.
  • American adults substantially lowered their blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and other risk factors for heart disease during the 1980s. As a result, costs associated with coronary heart disease in the United States declined by an estimated 9 percent -- from about $240 billion in 1981 to about $220 billion in 1990.
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