Heart Disease in Canada

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Organization: Public Health Agency of Canada

Date published: February 9, 2017

It is the 2nd leading cause of death in Canada.

Also known as ischemic heart disease or coronary heart disease, heart disease refers to the buildup of plaque in the heart's arteries that could lead to a heart attack, heart failure, or death.

2012/13 data from the Public Health Agency of Canada's Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System  (CCDSS) indicate that:

  • About 1 in 12 (or 2.4 million) Canadian adults age 20 and over live with diagnosed heart disease; 
  • Every hour, about 12 Canadian adults age 20 and over with diagnosed heart disease die.

The death rate is:

  • 3 times higher among adults age 20 and over with diagnosed heart disease compared to those without; 
  • 4 times higher among adults age 20 and over who have had a heart attack compared to those who have not;
  • 6 times higher among adults age 40 and over with diagnosed heart failure compared to those without.

Heart disease affects men and women differently

  • Men are 2 times more likely to suffer a heart attack than women. 
  • Men are newly diagnosed with heart disease about 10 years younger than women (55-64 vs 65-74 years of age).

The good news is that from 2000/01 to 2012/13:

  • The number of Canadian adults newly diagnosed with heart disease declined from 221,800 to 158,700.
  • The death rate, or the number of deaths per 1,000 individuals with a known heart disease, has decreased by 23%.

Reduce your risk of heart disease by:

  • being smoke free
  • staying physically active
  • eating a healthy diet
  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • limiting alcohol use

Did you know?

The early detection and management of medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol can help you reduce your risk of heart disease.

Learn more about heart disease by visiting the Public Health Agency of Canada at www.phac-aspc.gc.ca and Heart and Stroke Foundation at www.heartandstroke.ca.

For more information about the data and methods, visit: open.canada.ca and download: "Overview of algorithms for the surveillance period 1995/96 to 2011/12".

Data sources and acknowledgements: Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), using CCDSS data files contributed by provinces and territories, as of May 2016. Data from Yukon were not available. These data were made possible through collaboration between PHAC and all Canadian provincial and territorial governments, and expert contribution from the CCDSS Heart Disease Working Group. This infographic was developed by PHAC; no endorsement by the provinces and territories is intended or should be inferred.

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