Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the United States, according to the American Heart Association. Heart disease has many manifestations. From congenital heart defects (structural problems that arise from abnormal formation of the heart or major blood vessels that can sometimes be corrected with surgery) to acquired heart disease such as coronary heart disease, hypertension, and pulmonary heart disease and other conditions that affect the heart and its blood vessels.

Heart disease is nothing new, but what is new is the focus on children's heart health—a fall out from recent research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which confirmed that obesity is a national problem. According to the CDC, one-third of children in the U.S. are overweight; 20 percent, obese. Children who fall into this category are more likely to have heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol than their normal-weight peers.

The good news is a combination of dietary changes, a regular exercise regime, medication, and periodic monitoring can go a long way toward preventing heart disease and managing a pre-existing condition.

Here's a look at heart health by the numbers:

  • 1.2 million: The number of Americans who suffer from heart attacks each year.
  • 800,000: The number of people who die each year from heart disease, stroke, and other vascular diseases. (Approximately 150,000 of them are younger than 65.)
  • $273 billion: The health care cost to treat heart disease, stroke, and other vascular diseases in 2010.

  • 500,000: The approximate number of people who die from heart disease annually in the U.S.
  • 34: The number of seconds between heart attacks in the U.S. According to the American Heart Association, every 34 seconds in the U.S. someone as a myocardial infarction.
  • 82: The percentage of people who die of coronary heart disease who are 65 or older.
  • 68 million (or 1 in 3): The number of U.S. adults with high blood pressure which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Because hypertension has no warning signs—and often no symptoms either—it is often referred to as the "silent killer." Regular check ups are important for detecting if you are a member of this group. Normal blood pressure is defined as 120/80 mm Hg. If the first number (systolic) is greater than 140 mm Hg or the diastolic number (the second one) is greater than 90 mm Hg, you may have high blood pressure.
  • 10: The percentage of teens between the ages of 12 and 19 who have high cholesterol levels that put them at increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • 1/3: The number of children who are overweight or obese, according to the CDC.
  • 20: The percentage of children who are obese, according to the CDC.
  • 33.7: The percentage of adults who are obese.
  • 47: The percentage of sudden cardiac deaths that occur outside a hospital suggesting that many people with heart disease don't act on early warning signs such as chest pain.
  • 6: The number of risk factors for heart disease: inactivity; obesity; high blood pressure; cigarette smoking; high cholesterol and diabetes.
  • 195,000: The estimated number of silent first myocardial infarctions that occur each year.
  • 68 million: U.S. adults have high blood pressure, according to the CDC.
  • 80: Percentage of people with hypertension who are aware of their condition.
  • 33: The percentage of adults who reported engaging in no aerobic leisure-time physical activity.
  • 30: Percentage of girls in the U.S. who do not get the recommended 60 minutes a day of physical activity.
  • 17: Percentage of boys in the U.S. who do not get the recommended 60 minutes a day of physical activity.
  • 33.6 million: The number of people who have total blood cholesterol levels of 240 mg/dL or higher.
  • 5.8 million: The number of people in the U.S. who have heart failure—a serious condition that occurs when the heart cannot pump enough blood and oxygen to support other organs. It does NOT mean the heart has stopped beating. (Most common causes are coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.)
  • $39.2 billion: The cost of heart failure in the U.S in 2010 including the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity.
  • $316.4 billion: The total cost of heart disease in 2010, according to the American Heart Association.





The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
High Blood Pressure http://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/

Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention
Vital Signs: Where's the Sodium? There's Too Much Sodium in Many Common Foods http://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/vital_signs.htm

Vital Signs: High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol http://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/vital_signs_bp.htm

High Blood Pressure & Cholesterol Q&A http://www.cdc.gov/DHDSP/docs/Vital_Signs_QA.pdf

Heart Disease Facts http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm

American Heart Association
Statistical Fact Sheet 2012 Update http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@sop/@smd/documents/downloadable/ucm_319830.pdf

Executive Summary: Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics-2012 Update: a Report From the American Heart Association http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/125/1/188.full.pdf