Health Status of Canadians 2016: Report of the Chief Public Health Officer - How are we unhealthy? - Cardiovascular disease

How are we unhealthy?

Cardiovascular disease

In 2014, 6% of Canadians 20 years and older report that they were living with a cardiovascular disease.Footnote 1

Examples of cardiovascular diseases include heart disease and cerebrovascular disease. These two diseases are the second and third most common causes of death in Canada after cancer. High blood pressure is a chronic condition that can increase a person's risk for cardiovascular disease.Footnote 2,Footnote 3

Over time

From 2007 to 2014, the proportion of Canadians living with a cardiovascular disease has remained stable at 5%. These rates were adjusted by age so they could be compared over time.Footnote 1

By income

In 2014, Canadians with the lowest household incomes were more likely than those with the highest household incomes to report living with a cardiovascular disease (see Figure 1)Footnote 4.

Figure 1: Percent of Canadians reporting living with a cardiovascular disease by household income, 2014Footnote 4
Figure 1

Quintiles (Q) are calculated by dividing the Canadian population into five groups of equal size (quintiles) based on household income.

Text Equivalent

Bar chart showing the percent of Canadians reporting living with a cardiovascular disease by household income in 2014. These data are divided into income quintiles. Quintiles are calculated by dividing the Canadian population into five groups of equal size (quintiles) based on neighbourhood income.

  • Quintile 1 (lowest): 8.8%
  • Quintile 2: 7.8%
  • Quintile 3: 6.1%
  • Quintile 4: 4.5%
  • Quintile 5 (highest): 3.9%

By sex

In 2014, 7% of men and 5% of women reported living with a cardiovascular disease.Footnote 1

By age

The proportion of Canadians reporting that they were living with a cardiovascular disease increases with age. A similar pattern was found for high blood pressure.Footnote 1

Figure 2: Percent of Canadians who report living with a cardiovascular disease by age group, 2014Footnote 1
Figure 2
Text Equivalent

Bar chart showing the percent of Canadians reporting living with a cardiovascular disease by age group in 2014.

  • 20 to 34 years: 0.7%
  • 35 to 49 years: 1.5%
  • 50 to 64 years: 7.1%
  • 65 years and older: 18.3%

Indigenous populations

Data on cardiovascular disease in Indigenous populations are not directly comparable to the data described above. In 2008/2010, 22% of First Nations on-reserve reported having high blood pressure, 6% reported living with a heart disease and 2% reported living with the effects of a stroke.Footnote 5

Percent of First Nations on-reserve living with a cardiovascular disease, 2008/2010Footnote 5
High blood pressure 22%
Heart disease 6%
Effects of stroke 2%

In 2007-2010, First Nations off reserve, Métis and Inuit were less likely to report living with a cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure than non-Indigenous people.Footnote 6

Percent of Canadians living with a cardiovascular disease, 2007-2010 Footnote 6
Cardiovascular disease High blood pressure

Data presented in this table are adjusted by age. Indigenous populations tend to be younger than non-Indigenous populations which can affect the ability to compare data across groups.

First Nations off-reserve 11% 9%
Métis 10% 9%
Inuit 9%Table 2 footnote a 7%
Non-Indigenous 14% 12%

International comparison

Data on rates of cardiovascular disease in G7 countries are not collected such that comparisons can be made. Looking at rates of mortality, Japan had the lowest mortality rate from heart disease (ischaemic, meaning reduced blood supply to the heart) at 39 deaths per 100,000 population in 2011, while the United States had the highest rate at 124 deaths per 100,000. Canada ranked in the middle at 95 deaths per 100,000 population (see Figure 3)Footnote 7.

Figure 3: Mortality rates for ischaemic heart disease and cerebrovascular disease in G7 countries, 2011Footnote 7
Figure 3

Data presented in this graph are adjusted by age.

Text Equivalent

Bar graph showing mortality rates for ischaemic heart disease and cerebrovascular diseases in G7 countries in 2011.

Ischaemic heart disease

  • Canada: 95.2 per 100,000 population
  • United States: 123.8 per 100,000 population
  • United Kingdom: 101.9 per 100,000 population
  • France: 42.5 per 100,000 population
  • Germany: 115.2 per 100,000 population
  • Italy: 86.2 per 100,000 population
  • Japan: 39 per 100,000 population

Cerebrovascular disease

  • Canada: 37.8 per 100,000 population
  • United States: 42.6 per 100,000 population
  • United Kingdom: 56.1 per 100,000 population
  • France: 38.1 per 100,000 population
  • Germany: 53.4 per 100,000 population
  • Italy: 68.5 per 100,000 population
  • Japan: 60.6 per 100,000 population

Notes to the reader

  • Cardiovascular diseases are conditions or diseases of the circulatory system. The four most common types are ischemic heart disease, myocardial infarction or heart attack, congestive heart failure and cerebrovascular disease.Footnote 1 Hypertension is a chronic condition that occurs when blood pressure is consistently high for long periods. Hypertension is a leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease.Footnote 2
  • Rates are calculated as age-standardized rates per 100,000 population. Age-standardized rates are are adjusted so that they account for different age structures in different populations. For example, cardiovascular diseases are more common in older age groups. With an aging population, there should be more cases now than in the past. In order to determine if rates are changing, they need to be adjusted to take out the influence of an aging population.
  • Indigenous populations consist of First Nations, Métis and Inuit.
  • G7 countries include seven of the world's industrialized countries, namely the United States, Japan, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Canada, that form an informal discussion group and economic partnership.

For more information on cardiovascular diseases, please see:

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Privacy statement

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: