Heart Disease Facts – What is the Impact?
- Heart disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women in the United States, claiming approximately 1 million lives annually.
- Every 33 seconds someone in the United States dies from cardiovascular disease which is roughly the equivalent of a September 11th-like tragedy repeating itself every 24 hours, 365 days a year.
- More people die of heart disease than of AIDS and all cancers combined.
- By 2020, heart disease will be the leading cause of death throughout the world.
- This year more than 920,000 Americans will have a heart attack; nearly half of them will occur without prior symptoms or warning signs.
- 250,000 Americans die annually of Sudden Cardiac Death – 680 every day of the year.
- One-half of the victims of Sudden Cardiac Death are under the age of 65.
- An estimated 80 million Americans have one or more types of heart disease.
- About 8.9 million Americans have chest pain (angina) caused by reduced blood flow to the heart muscle, which occurs when the coronary arteries become blocked with a build-up of plaque.
- Currently about 7.9 million Americans are alive who have had a heart attack.
- In 2008, the total cost of cardiovascular disease (coronary heart disease, hypertensive disease, heart failure and stroke) in the U.S. was estimated at $448.5 billion. (This includes direct costs such as costs of doctors, hospital services, medications, etc., and indirect costs such as lost productivity.) In comparison, the estimated economic cost of cancer in 2007 was $219 billion.
Who Is at Risk?
In most instances, a heart attack or stroke is caused by a small blood clot lodged within a blood vessel leading to either the heart or brain. The lack of blood (and oxygen) causes injury; prompt recognition and medical treatment are of utmost importance. Being familiar with factors that increase the risk for either a heart attack or stroke is the first step toward prevention.
If you have one or more of these factors, please contact a healthcare provider right away to help reduce your risk of heart disease.
Warning Signs for Stroke
- Sudden weakness or numbness of face or limb on one side.
- Sudden, severe headache.
- Difficulty talking or understanding speech.
- Unexplained dizziness.
- Sudden dimness/loss of vision, often in one eye.
Warning Signs for Heart Attack
- Chest discomfort: uncomfortable pressure, squeezing or fullness.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body: one or both arms or in the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
- Shortness of breath, either with chest discomfort or alone.
- Other signs, including nausea, light headed, or breaking out in a cold sweat.
Risk Factors for Stroke
- High blood pressure.
- High cholesterol.
- Age (risk doubles for each decade over 55 years of age).
- Family history of stroke.
- Birth control pills.
- Atrial fibrillation.
- Heart failure.
- Excess alcohol.
- Prior stroke or heart attack.
- Black race.
- Gender (women are at greater risk than men).
Risk Factors for Heart Attack
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Physical inactivity
- Gender (men are at greater risk than women)