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Heart Statistics

Test your heart knowledge

The heart muscle pumps some 2,500 to 5,000 gallons of blood in a day, 100 million in a lifetime.

Hearts differ in size and shape even among people of the same sex, age, body build, height and weight.

Test your heart knowledge

In general, the heart's length averages about 4.3 inches; the breadth is 3.5 inches; the heart's depth is 2.7 inches.

The human heart weighs 7-12 ounces. It is the size of two human fists held together.

The idea that the heart is a pump circulating blood through the body was known to the Chinese more than 2,000 years ago.

Cardiovascular Disease Statistics

From the American Heart Association

According to 2000 estimates, 61,800,000 Americans have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

  • High blood pressure -- 50,000,000.
  • Coronary heart disease -- 12,900,000.
  • Myocardial infarction (mi"o-KAR'de-al in-FARK'shun) (acute heart attack) -- 7,600,000.
  • Angina pectoris (AN'jih-nah or an-JI'nah PEK'tor-is) (chest pain or discomfort caused by reduced blood supply to the heart muscle) -- 6,600,000.
  • Stroke -- 4,700,000.

Cardiovascular diseases

  • Claimed 945,836 lives in 2000 (39.4 percent of all deaths or 1 of every 2.5 deaths).
  • Other 2000 mortality: total cancer 553,091; accidents 97,900; HIV (AIDS) 14,478.
  • Almost 150,000 Americans killed by CVD are under age 65.
  • 2000 death rates from CVD were 397.6 for white males and 509.6 for black males; for white females 285.8 and for black females 397.1. (Death rates are per 100,000 population. The rates listed use the year 2000 standard U.S. population as the base for age adjustment.)
  • From 1990 to 2000 death rates from CVD declined 17.0 percent.
  • Despite this decline in the death rate, in the same 10-year period the actual number of deaths declined only 2.5 percent.

Coronary heart disease

Coronary heart disease is caused by atherosclerosis (ath"er-o-skleh-RO'sis), the narrowing of the coronary arteries due to fatty build ups of plaque. It's likely to produce angina pectoris (chest pain), heart attack or both.

  • Coronary heart disease caused 515,204 deaths in 2000 and is the single leading cause of death in America today.
  • 12,900,000 people alive today have a history of heart attack, angina pectoris or both. This is about 6,300,000 males and 6,600,000 females.
  • This year an estimated 1.1 million Americans will have a new or recurrent coronary attack.
  • About 250,000 people a year die of coronary attack without being hospitalized. Most of these are sudden deaths caused by cardiac arrest, usually resulting from ventricular fibrillation (ven-TRIK'u-ler fib"rih-LA'shun).
  • From 1990 to 2000 the death rate from coronary heart disease declined 25.0 percent.
  • In 2000 coronary heart disease death rates per 100,000 people were 238.0 for white males and 262.4 for black males; and 145.3 for white females and 187.5 for black females. (Death rates are per 100,000 population. The rates use the year 2000 standard population for age adjustment.)