Surveillance of heart diseases and conditions

Learn how heart diseases and blood circulation conditions are monitored.

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How many people are living with a heart disease or condition in Canada?

Heart disease is the second leading cause of death in Canada, claiming more than 51,000 lives in 2014.

About 2.4 million Canadian adults (8.5%) are living with diagnosed ischemic heart disease (fiscal year 2012/13 data). This is the most common type of heart disease, and the figure comprises:

  • 9.8% of men aged 20 years and older
  • 7.1% of women aged 20 years and older

Men have higher hospitalization and death rates related to heart diseases than women in all age groups. But the difference lessens with age. However, because women live longer than men, there were a similar number of deaths for women and men from heart diseases.

Over 741,000 Canadian adults (2.7%) aged 20 years and older have survived a stroke (fiscal year 2012/13 data). Men and women are equally affected. But more women than men who survived a stroke die each year since they tend to live longer.

Over half of Canadians who reported having a stroke rated their health as only fair or poor. In particular:

  • 23% self-reported diagnosed mood disorders
  • about half self-reported mobility limitations

In 2012/13, about 7 million (25%) Canadian adults aged 20 years and older were living with diagnosed hypertension. Men (24.4%) and women (25.5%) were about equally affected as per the following age categories. But a greater proportion of women aged 80 years and older are affected than men in the same age group.

Age Percentage of men Percentage of women
20 to 34 1.8% 1.5%
35 to 49 11.4% 9.5%
50 to 64 32.4% 30.4%
65 to 79 61% 61.8%
80 and older 76% 81.2%

Clinical depression is very common among people who suffer heart diseases and conditions. It happens to up to:

  • 2 in 5 people with heart failure
  • 1 in 3 people following a heart attack
  • 1 in 5 people with ischemic heart disease or stroke

For people living with heart diseases and conditions, returning to work can be a challenge. This challenge affects household income and, on a larger scale, Canada's economic productivity.

How does Canada monitor heart diseases and conditions?

The Public Health Agency of Canada uses provincial and territorial health data from the Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System. This system helps the federal government better understand chronic conditions by estimating:

  • the incidence of chronic conditions
  • the prevalence of chronic conditions
  • the use of health services
  • health outcomes

The system aims to make the collection of surveillance data consistent and comparable across jurisdictions. Since the provinces and territories share population-level summaries only, patient privacy is protected. Pan-Canadian data can be found on the system's website.

Information is reported to support the planning and evaluation of policies and programs.

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