New Statistics Show Heart Failure Is on the Rise

American Heart Association issues update

The number of people diagnosed with heart failure is increasing and is projected to rise by 46% by 2030, resulting in more than eight million people with heart failure, according to the American Heart Association (AHA) 2017 heart disease and stroke statistics update, published in Circulation. In part, the increase can be attributed to medical advances, because more people are surviving heart attacks and therefore face an increased heart failure risk afterward, experts said. But the aging of America and other health problems are also major contributors.

“The epidemics of diabetes and obesity both contribute to the rising number of patients who acquire heart failure—our growing population of the elderly is particularly susceptible,” said Mariell Jessup, MD, former president of the AHA.

In the latest update, many major statistics did not change significantly. Cardiovascular diseases, including coronary artery disease, hypertension, and stroke, collectively remain the leading cause of death in the United States.

The number of adults with heart failure increased from approximately 5.7 million (2009–2012) to approximately 6.5 million (2011–2014). The data are based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which is conducted in stages over multiple years.

Below are some key statistics from the new report. The data are from 2014.

  • In the U.S., more than one in three adults (92.1 million) have cardiovascular diseases, accounting for 807,775 deaths.
  • Approximately 790,000 people in the U.S. have heart attacks each year. Of those individuals, approximately 114,000 will die.
  • In the U.S., approximately 795,000 adults experienced a new or recurrent stroke, accounting for nearly 133,000 deaths.
  • More than 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occurred in the U.S., nearly 90% of them fatal.

The new update also includes the latest figures on what the AHA calls “Life’s Simple 7”––seven key measures and behaviors that can help people stay healthy and lower their risk for heart disease, stroke, and other major problems. Life’s Simple 7 includes not smoking, staying physically active, eating a healthy diet, maintaining a normal body weight, and controlling cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar.

Here are statistics related to Life’s Simple 7, with the most recent year for which data are available:

  • Nearly 17% of men, 14% of women, and nearly 5% of children 12 to 17 years of age smoked cigarettes in 2015.
  • Approximately 22%t of adults in 2015 met federal physical activity guidelines.
  • In the U.S., the prevalence of obesity among adults, estimated using NHANES data, increased from 1999–2000 through 2013–2014, from 31% to 38%, respectively.
  • In the U.S., the prevalence of overweight and obesity among children and adolescents 2 to 19 years of age, estimated using the national data, was 33% (16% overweight and 17% obese).
  • Nearly 94.6 million American adults (40%) had total cholesterol levels of 200 mg/dL or higher.
  • Nearly 86 million American adults (34%) had hypertension.
  • An estimated 23.4 million American adults (9%) have diagnosed diabetes; approximately 7.6 million (3%) have undiagnosed diabetes; and approximately 81.6 million (34%) have prediabetes.

Sources: AHA; January 25, 2017; and Circulation; January 25, 2017.