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Men's Health

Facts on Heart Disease in Men

  • In 2002, 340,933 men died from heart disease, the leading cause of death for men in the United States.1  
  • The age-adjusted death rate for heart disease in men was 297 per 100,000 population in 2002.1  
  • About 8.9% of all white men, 7.4% of black men, and 5.6% of Mexican American men live with coronary heart disease.2  
  • The average age of a first heart attack for men is 66 years.2  
  • Almost half of men who have a heart attack under age 65 die within 8 years.4  
  • Results from the Framingham Heart Study suggest that men have a 49% lifetime risk of developing coronary heart disease after the age of 40.4  
  • Between 70 and 89% of sudden cardiac events occur in men.4
  • Major risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, tobacco use, diabetes, physical inactivity, and poor nutrition.5 
  • In a large study of blood pressure treatment and control, an average reduction of 12 to 13 mm Hg in systolic blood pressure over 4 years of follow–up was associated with a 21% reduction in coronary heart disease, 37% reduction in stroke, and 13% reduction in all–cause mortality rates.6  
  • Studies suggest that a 10% decrease in total cholesterol levels may reduce the development of coronary heart disease by as much as 30%.3

For this fact sheet, the term "heart disease" refers to the broadest category of "disease of the heart" as defined by the International Classification of Diseases and used by CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. This category includes acute rheumatic fever, chronic rheumatic heart disease, hypertensive heart disease, coronary heart disease, pulmonary heart disease, congestive heart failure, and any other heart condition or disease.

CDC Activities to Reduce the Burden of Heart Disease Among Men

CDC's Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program
CDC currently funds health departments in 32 states and the District of Columbia to develop, implement, and evaluate programs that promote heart–healthy and stroke–free communities; prevent and control heart disease, stroke, and their risk factors; and eliminate disparities among populations. These programs emphasize the use of education, policies, environmental strategies, and systems changes to address heart disease and stroke in various settings and to ensure quality of care. For more information, visit http://www.cdc.gov/DHDSP/state_program/index.htm.

Maps of Heart Disease and Stroke Mortality Among Women and Men
The interactive maps present heart disease and stroke mortality rates, county–by–county, for the state, racial/ethnic group, and gender of your choice. These maps provide valuable information for health professionals and concerned citizens at the local, state, and national levels to identify the communities of women and men with the greatest burden of heart disease and to design heart disease prevention programs and policies tailored to the needs of those communities. http://www.cdc.gov/DHDSP/library/maps/index.htm.

A Public Health Action Plan to Prevent Heart Disease and Stroke
A Public Health Action Plan to Prevent Heart Disease and Stroke
is a groundbreaking collaboration that will help to guide the nation’s heart disease and stroke prevention efforts over the next decades. The Action Plan was developed by public and private partners who are committed to preventing disease rather than treating its consequences and to transforming public health agencies and their partners into effective agents of change. A national forum of experts, representing some 50 national and international organizations, serves as the vehicle for implementing the Action Plan. The three lead partners are the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, and CDC, which provides core support for convening the national forum and implementing the Action Plan. For more information please see http://www.cdc.gov/DHDSP/library/action_plan/index.htm.

For More Information

For more information on heart disease and among men, visit the following Web sites.


  1. National Center for Health Statistics. Health, United States, 2005 with chartbook on the Health of Americans. Hyatsville, MD: 2005.

  2. American Heart Association. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2005 Update. Dallas, Texas: American Heart Association, 2005.

  3. Cohen, JD. A population–based approach to cholesterol control. American Journal of Medcine 1997: 102:23–25.

  4. Hurst W. The Heart, Arteries, and Veins. 10th ed. New York, New York: McGraw–Hill; 2002.

  5. Preventing chronic diseases: Investing wisely in health preventing heart disease and stroke. July 2005. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. February 6, 2006. http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/publications/factsheets/Prevention/cvh.htm

  6. He J, Whelton PK. Elevated systolic blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular and renal disease: overview of evidence from observational epidemiologic studies and randomized controlled trials. Am Heart J. 1999 Sept; 138 (3 Pt 2): 211–9.

© 2007 Dr. Rodney Randall, MD | all rights reserved | Some information provided by government agencies. CLICK HERE for more info.