While heart disease remains the leading killer of Americans, growing heart failure rates have become a major concern, based on the American Heart Association’s 2017 update on Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics.
Written in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and other government agencies, this paper provides the most up-to-date statistics on heart disease and stroke in the United States. The update was largely based on 2011–2014 data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which assesses the health and nutritional status of Americans through a combination of surveys, interviews and physical exams.
One of the biggest takeaways, as experts explain, is that heart disease remains the leading killer of men and women in the United States. More than one-third of adults have at least one type of cardiovascular disease, which includes heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. And in 2014, cardiovascular disease claimed the lives of nearly 808,000 American adults.
There are also an estimated 790,000 heart attacks each year, 114,000 of which are fatal. Stroke statistics are similar, and when considered separately from other types of heart disease, stroke ranks fifth among all causes of death in the United States.
But one of the biggest changes has been the dramatic rise in heart failure rates over the past decade. From 2009–2014, the number of adults with heart failure increased by 800,000. According to experts, this rise is largely due to an aging population and an increase in patients with heart disease who are at increased risk for heart failure.
The good news, however, is that death rates from heart disease declined by 25% from 2004–2014, likely due to both prevention and treatment.
In recent years, the American Heart Association raised awareness for “Life’s Simple 7,” which includes avoiding smoking, staying active, eating healthy, maintaining a healthy weight, and maintaining normal cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels. A recent analysis suggests achieving all of these goals helps lower risk of heart disease by 80% and cuts risk of death nearly in half. Many of these factors have been improving, with healthy diet and physical activity rates increasing among children and adults over the past few decades.
Experts hope that by continuing these trends, we can achieve the American Heart Association’s 2020 Impact Goal, which is to improve the overall health of Americans and reduce death from heart disease and stroke by 20% by the year 2020.