CDC: 647,000 Americans Die Each Year from Heart Disease — One Every 37 Seconds

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 23: A FDNY paramedic unloads a patient from an ambulance near the Emergency Room entrance to the Brooklyn Hospital Center on April 23, 2020 in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York City. New York City remains the epicenter of the …
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The coronavirus has caused nationwide fear, and more than 127,000 people have died in the United States, but heart disease is the leading cause of death in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Heart disease kills about 647,000 Americans each year and is responsible for the deaths of men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the U.S.

Coronary heart disease is the most common form and killed 365,914 people in 2017, the CDC reports.

A staggering 18.2 million adults ages 20 or older have Coronary Artery Disease or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population.

The death toll is not concentrated in the elderly population, with two in ten deaths from heart disease striking adults under 65 years old.

The CDC also reported on the cost of heart disease — $219 billion in 2014 and 2015.

Some other statistics on how Americans are affected by this disease include:

  • In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds.

  • Every year, about 805,000 Americans have a heart attack.

  • 605,000 are a first heart attack.

  • 200,000 happen to people who have already had a heart attack.

  • About 1 in 5 heart attacks is silent—the damage is done, but the person is not aware of it.

“Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States, including African American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Hispanic, and white men,” the CDC reported. “For women from the Pacific Islands and Asian American, American Indian, Alaska Native, and Hispanic women, heart disease is second only to cancer.”

The CDC included a chart explaining the race and ethnic group data:

Percentages of all deaths caused by heart disease in 2015 by ethnicity, race, and sex.

Race of Ethnic Group

% of Deaths

Men, %

Women, %

American Indian or Alaska Native




Asian American or Pacific Islander




Black (Non-Hispanic)




White (Non-Hispanic)












Source: CDC

Several other medical conditions and lifestyle choices can also put people at a higher risk for heart disease, according to the CDC, including Diabetesobesity, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and excessive alcohol use.

High blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and smoking are also risk factors for heart disease, and about 47 percent of Americans have one of these risk factors, according to the CDC.

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