Heart Attack Statistics

35 Chilling Heart Attack Statistics You Must Be Aware Of

by Dr. Lina Velikova, MD

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are heart and blood vessel disorders that remain the leading cause of premature death. Heart attack statistics show that four out of five deaths related to CVD are due to heart attacks and strokes. In general, the people at risk of developing a CVD often suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.

“Heart attack” is an umbrella term for various CVD-related conditions, such as acute coronary syndrome, acute heart failure, arrhythmia, sudden cardiac death. Their acute onset can severely diminish a patient’s quality of life.

Identifying those at the highest risk for developing one of these cardiovascular diseases and starting the appropriate treatment can prevent further complications or even death. Here, we have a collection of the most critical facts and stats related to heart attacks.

Critical Heart Attack Facts & Statistics to Know in 2019

  • Every 40 seconds, someone has a heart attack in the US.
  • 1 in every 4 deaths in America is due to heart disease.
  • The mean age of a first heart attack is 65 years for men and 72 for women.
  • About 50% of Americans have at least one risk factor for heart disease.
  • Diabetes makes women 2.5 times more prone to a heart attack.
  • 92% of people would recognize chest pain as a heart disease symptom.
  • Only 27% of people are aware of all the major heart attack symptoms.
  • Each year heart disease costs the US more than $200 billion.
  • About 15% of people who have a heart attack will die from it.
  • More than $4.3 billion has been invested in heart attack research by the AHA.

Heart Attack and Death Statistics

Heart Attack Statistics

1. The yearly incidence total for heart attacks in the US is 605,000 new attacks and 200,000 recurrent ones.

(American Heart Association

According to the AHA’s heart disease and stroke data published in 2019, the assessed annual incidence of a first heart attack in the US was 605,000. The estimation included data from 2005 to 2014. It also showed that there were approximately 200,000 recurrent attacks annually.

2. Around 790,000 Americans have a heart attack every year.

(Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Research into the underlying causes of death obtained from the CDC for the period of 1999–2013 provided this concerning report on heart attack statistics from 2015. This rate sums up the new and recurrent cases, and we can see that the number increases in 2019.

3. Every 40 seconds, someone has a heart attack in the US.

(National Vital Statistics Report

Over time, coronary arteries can become narrower as cholesterol plaque accumulates on their walls, a condition called atherosclerosis. During a heart attack—i.e., a myocardial infarction—one of these plaques ruptures, and a thrombus forms at the rupture site. If the thrombus is big enough, it can completely stop the blood supply to a part of the heart. 

Therefore, while the development of heart disease takes years, this event often seems to happen out of the blue, which we can see in most heart attack stats.

4. Every 60 seconds, more than one individual in the US dies from an event related to heart disease.

(National Vital Statistics Report

An abnormality in blood supply following a heart attack—which thus means there’s less of oxygen-carrying blood—can damage or even kill the heart muscle (myocardium) cells. The more time passes without treatment that restores blood flow, the greater the irreversible damage to the heart, thereby increasing the heart attack mortality statistics.

5. One in every 4 deaths in America is due to heart disease.

(Center for Disease Control and Prevention

For about 630,000 US citizens each year, heart disease has a fatal outcome.

6. Coronary heart disease kills over 370,000 people annually in the US.

(Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Coronary heart disease is the most common form of heart disease where the coronary arteries narrow due to atherosclerosis. This condition causes the most heart attacks and deaths.

Heart Attack Epidemiological Statistics and Demographic Data

Heart Attack Statistics

7. Heart disease incidence and prevalence varies by race and ethnicity.

(National Center for Health Statistics)

Nevertheless, heart attacks remain the leading cause of death for people of most racial/ethnic groups in the US, including African Americans, Hispanics, and those of European descent. Interestingly, heart disease is second to cancer for Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, and Alaska Natives.

8. Disorders associated in some way with heart disease remain the primary cause of death for both men and women.

(American Heart Association

According to the estimated heart attack statistics for men, heart disease was the cause of more than half of their deaths in 2015. 

9. Coronary heart disease affects between 6% and 9% of men.

(Circulation)

It was estimated that about 8.5% of all white men suffer from coronary heart disease, whereas the rate for black men and Mexican American men were 7.9% and 6.3%, respectively.

10. Most sudden cardiac events occur in men (up to 89%).

(American Heart Association)

The concept of sudden cardiac death is strictly defined in medical terminology. It covers cases in which a patient dies quickly and unexpectedly after experiencing certain cardiovascular complaints. AHA’s heart disease statistics from 2018 show that the incidence of the condition is relatively high. This is especially true among certain groups of people, particularly men.

11. Heart disease is the main cause of a quarter of deaths in men.

(National Vital Statistics Report)

Heart disease is a leading cause of death among US men, killing more than 300,000 annually. This phenomenon may be due to genetic background, dietary habits, and other lifestyle choices.

12. Heart disease was associated with the death of every fifth woman in the US in 2017.

(American Heart Association)

For women, heart attack statistics show that, as with men, it’s the leading cause of death for black as well as white women in the US, killing 299,578 in 2017. In contrast, heart disease and cancer share first place in causing death among Native American and Alaska Native women. Heart disease is second to cancer for Hispanic and Asian or Pacific Islander women.

13. The mean age for a first heart attack is 65 years for men and 72 years for women.

(American Heart Association)

Heart attack age statistics emphasize that since heart attacks occur in both men and women, the significant difference is the age at which it occurs. For men, the riskiest period starts after the age of 45 years, whereas for women, there is a dangerous moment around menopause and then after 70 years of age.

Statistics of Heart Attack Risk Factors

Heart Attack Statistics

14. About 50% of Americans have at least one risk factor for heart disease.

(National Center for Health Statistics)

Accompanying conditions like high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol, smoking, obesity, a poor diet, physical inactivity, excessive alcohol use, diabetes, a previous heart attack or stroke, and so on can elevate your chance of developing heart disease and experiencing a heart attack.

Half of the US population has one of the three main heart disease risk factors you’ll see noted on any heart attack facts sheet: hypertension, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking. The combination of these risk factors makes people more prone to developing a CVD.

15. High total cholesterol doubles the risk of heart disease.

(Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

People with high total cholesterol levels have approximately twice the risk of heart disease and attack compared to people with levels lower than the harmless 200 mg/dL.

16. Diabetes makes women 2.5 times more prone to a heart attack.

(National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Several medical conditions and lifestyle choices can put people at a higher risk for heart disease and attack. What is heart disease without diabetes, when the latter is one of the most significant causes of heart disease and stroke?

17. Only about 25% of people with a documented parental history of a heart attack before 55 years of age reported that history when asked.

(Annals of Internal Medicine)

The Framingham Offspring Study showed that estimates of familial occurrences of CVD are likely underestimated when they’re self-reported. 

Heart Attack Facts and Statistics: Symptoms, Treatment, and Complications

Heart Attack Statistics

18. 92% of people recognize chest pain as a heart attack symptom.

(Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

In a 2005 survey, most respondents managed to recognize chest pain as a symptom of a heart attack. It’s essential to identify the first signs of a heart attack and then to act immediately by calling 911. And here comes the question: How long can you live after a heart attack? The chances of surviving a heart attack increase if emergency treatment starts as soon as possible.

19. Only 27% of people are aware of all the significant symptoms when they see someone having a heart attack.

(Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

Less than a third of people are familiar with all the significant symptoms that accompany a heart attack. The National Heart Attack Alert Program established the major symptoms aside from chest pain. Pain or discomfort may occur in the upper body (arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach), along with shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, and cold sweats.

Underestimating of the symptoms or having an inaccurate clinical picture of the condition can delay someone from seeking medical help, thereby decreasing their heart attack survival rate, statistics show.

20. Almost half of the men who die of a sudden cardiac attack hadn’t reported any previous symptoms.

(Circulation)

Even if you have no symptoms related to heart disease, you may still be at risk for a heart attack, especially if you have some of the risk factors.

21. Early treatment, together with quitting smoking, can prevent nearly 75% of recurrent vascular events.

(American Heart Association)

Heart disease statistics worldwide demonstrated that early action is crucial for minimizing damages from a heart attack on the heart muscle, brain, and other organs.

The benefits of certain interventions are mostly independent. However, when they’re used alongside some lifestyle changes—such as controlling one’s weight, cutting out tobacco use, and controlling any underlying diseases—the majority of potential recurrent heart attacks and other cardiovascular events may be prevented.

22. 12%–25% of female and 7%–22% of male heart attack survivors will develop heart failure within five years.

(Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

Heart failure is a condition in which the heart has difficulty pumping enough oxygen-enriched blood to meet the needs of the tissues and organs in the body. This is one of the more disturbing heart disease facts because it means that the typical manifestations of heart failure are symptoms of an underlying cardiac disease.

A previous heart attack can often impair broad areas of the heart or coronary heart disease by significantly narrowing the arteries that nourish the heart muscle. Altogether, this impairs the heart’s pumping functions.

23. Women are less likely to receive appropriate treatment after a heart attack than men.

(Journal of the American Heart Association)

Does having a heart attack shorten your life? It might for women. For about 34% of women who’ve experienced a heart attack, early and life-saving interventions were not prescribed. In addition, statin therapy for treatment to avoid a second heart attack was 24% less likely to be given. Women were also 16% less likely to receive aspirin to prevent thrombus formation during a heart attack. However, in the cases where female patients received the same level of treatment as men, mortality rates declined sharply.

Heart Attack Statistics and Medical Costs

Heart Attack Statistics

24. Each year heart disease costs the US more than $200 billion.

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Heart disease, including heart attacks, and their complications totaled about $218.7 billion in expenses from 2014 to 2015. This included direct costs, such as health care services and medications, and indirect costs due to patients’ lost productivity or mortality.

25. Heart attacks and coronary heart disease were among the 10 most expensive conditions treated in US hospitals.

(American Heart Association)

Heart attack statistics provided in 2018 demonstrated that two of the ten most expensive conditions treated in US hospitals in 2013 were heart attacks and coronary heart disease, which cost around $12.1 billion and $9 billion, respectively.

26. The medical costs of coronary heart disease are predicted to grow by about 100% by 2035.

(JAMA Cardiology)

According to a 2016 study, between 2015 and 2035, the medical costs for coronary heart disease and other CVDs are expected to reach $1.1 trillion. The indirect costs due to premature death and mortality are projected to be $368 billion.

27. At least 75% of the world’s deaths from CVD occur in low- and middle-income countries.

(World Health Organization)

One of the perplexing heart disease facts from 2018 is the association between higher death rates and lower income. The reasons for these observations are various. However, a lack of integrated primary health care programs and services for the early discovery and management of people at risk of CVD plays a big role.

As a result, many people with symptoms of CVD are identified late in these countries. Furthermore, they die younger, often in their most productive years. At the macro-economic level, CVDs place a heavy burden on these countries’ economies. 

Other Surprising Heart Attack Facts and Statistics

Heart Attack Statistics

28. Around 47% of sudden cardiac deaths happen outside a hospital.

(Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

This suggests that many people with cardiac problems don’t notice the early warning signs of a heart attack. A survey in 2012 showed that the percentage of females successfully identifying the warning signs of a heart attack were between 10% and 60%. 

Most of the participants distinguished the primary heart disease symptoms: chest pain (56%), pain that extends to the shoulder, neck, or arm (60%), and shortness of breath (38%). Awareness of other heart attack symptoms was estimated even lower: chest tightness (17%), nausea (18%), and fatigue (10%).

29. About 15% of the people who have a heart attack will die from it.

(Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

An actual heart attack denotes the end of a process that had already been going on for several hours. Every minute passing after the onset of cardiovascular disease, more and more heart tissue remains deprived of oxygen and dies. If blood flow recovers in time, heart damage can be restricted or prevented. Otherwise, lack of treatment can lead to the patient’s death.

30. Only 56% of women recognize that heart disease is their number one killer.

(Circulation

Even though awareness has increased over the past decades, only slightly more than half of women recognize that heart disease as their most significant health threat.

31. One in 16 women over age 20 has coronary heart disease.

(Circulation

About 6.2% of all women over 20 years old have the most common type of heart disease: coronary heart disease, which is associated with the occurrence of a heart attack. This is also true among second heart attack statistics.

32. Five times as many females die each year from heart attacks as they do from breast cancer.

(Circulation)

More than 200,000 women were estimated to die from heart attacks annually, far exceeding breast cancer’s mortality rate.

33. Asian women are less prone to a heart attack.

(Circulation)

A heart attack happens in about 6.5% of black women, 6.1% of white women, and 6% of Hispanic women. Meanwhile, the occurrence rate is only 3.2% among Asian women, or one in every 30.

34. 12.4% of adults reported having a parent or sibling who had a heart attack before age 50.

(American Heart Association)

Heart attack statistics by age revealed that of adults over 20 years old, 12.4% reported having a direct relative (i.e., a parent or sibling) with an acute heart event, such as a heart attack or unstable angina, before the age of 50 years.

35. The AHA has had more than $4.3 billion invested in its research.

(American Heart Association

The American Heart Association stated that it had been funded with more than $4.3 billion in cardiovascular research between 1949 and the present.

Conclusion

The well-known facts regarding heart disease can mislead people. For the “typical” patient who has suffered a heart attack, these detailed heart attack statistics could be handy for you to update your knowledge on the topic. Prevention is the best medicine. Thanks to this data, we now know that the typical heart attack patient isn’t merely an overweight male smoker who suffers from diabetes. The picture is bigger than that and, unfortunately, more inclusive. But by arming ourselves with these cited, research-based facts, we’re better prepared to recognize the signs and risk factors and take the right preventative measures.

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