Skip to main content

About Heart Disease & Stroke

Consequences & Costs

Americans suffer more than 2 million heart attacks and strokes each year. Cardiovascular disease—including heart disease and stroke—is the leading cause of death in the United States. Every day, 2,200 people die from cardiovascular disease—that's 815,000 Americans each year, or 1 in every 3 deaths.

Heart disease and stroke can be fatal, but they can also result in serious illness, disability, and decreased quality of life. Suffering a stroke may lead to significant disability, such as paralysis, speech difficulties, and emotional problems. Following a heart attack, individuals frequently suffer fatigue and depression, and they may find it more difficult to engage in physical activities. Heart disease and stroke are among the leading causes of disability in the United States, with more than 3 million people reporting disability from these causes.

Cost of Heart Disease & Stroke to the United States

Together, heart disease and stroke are among the most widespread and costly health problems facing the nation today, accounting for more than $444 billion in health care expenditures and lost productivity in 2010 alone—and these costs are rising. On a personal level, families who experience heart disease or stroke not only have to deal with medical bills but also lost wages and the real potential of a decreased standard of living.

American's Heart Disease Burden

Heart Disease Deaths

  • Each year, about 600,000 people die of heart disease. Of these,
    • About 200,000 people die of heart failure.
    • About 130,000 die from heart attack.

Heart Attacks

  • Each year, about 935,000 people in the United States have a heart attack.
    • About 610,000 of these are first or new heart attacks.
    • About 325,000 people who have survived a heart attack go on to have another.
  • Nearly 8 million people in the United States (3%) have had a heart attack.
  • Every 34 seconds someone in the United States has a heart attack.

American's Stroke Burden

Stroke Rates

  • Each year, about 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke.
    • About 610,000 of these are first or new strokes.
    • About 185,000 people who survive a stroke go on to have another.
  • Stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disability.

Stroke Deaths

  • Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women.
    • People of all ages and backgrounds can have a stroke.
    • In 2006, 6 out of every 10 deaths due to stroke were in women.
  • Each year, over 130,000 people in the United States die of stroke, accounting for nearly 1 in every 18 deaths. Only heart disease and cancer kill more people.
  • On average, every 4 minutes someone dies of a stroke.

Key Facts