How Have US Heart Disease Deaths Changed over Time?

Deaths from heart disease and stroke in the US have dropped by about 50% since the 1980s. This is thought to be due to fewer people smoking, more people maintaining healthy diets, and improvement in screening and treatment. Despite this, heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the US, with about 2 out of every 1,000 people a year dying from it.

More about health conditions in the US:

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death among both men and women though American men are much more likely to have heart disease than women. About 37% of men 65 years and older have heart disease as compared to 26% of women.
  • Though deaths from heart disease and stroke dropped dramatically since the 1980s, deaths from chronic lower respiratory disease increased by 57%. This includes conditions like emphysema, and bronchitis. The main risk factor for these conditions is tobacco use, with about 80% of emphysema and bronchitis cases associated with it.
  • More than a third of adults in the US have at least one form of heart disease, and their prognosis largely depends on exposure to risk factors and their access to treatment.
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Discussion Comments


Heart attack is regularly put on the death certificate of anyone who has suffered a malita -- a health problem of any kind which has resulted in the heart failing. In the end, our health failings result in heart failure. They are all -- cancer, tuberculosis -- all the sorrowful problems we know end in heart failure.

I was in the hospital holding the hand of my loved one whose heart was perfect, by medical exam, when this happened from another long time illness.

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