The Heart and Stroke Foundation plays a leading role in the tracking and development of relevant and current statistics on heart disease and stroke in Canada, as well as their related risk factors. Statistics listed on this page are the most current available and are updated when new reports and studies are issued. References for statistics are found at the end of this document.
In an effort to deliver expert, up-to-date information, the Heart and Stroke Foundation uses the latest available guidelines to produce evidence-based content on heart disease and stroke related issues on our website. Please find a list of guidelines used for this purpose at the end of this document.
Cardiovascular diseases are defined as diseases and injuries of the cardiovascular system: the heart, the blood vessels of the heart and the system of blood vessels (veins and arteries) throughout the body and within the brain. Stroke is the result of a blood flow problem in the brain. It is considered a form of cardiovascular disease.
Since 1952, the cardiovascular death rate in Canada has declined by more than 75 per cent – and nearly 40 per cent in the last decade – largely due to research advances in surgical procedures, drug therapies and prevention efforts (Statistics Canada, 2011c).
Every 7 minutes in Canada, someone dies from heart disease or stroke (Statistics Canada, 2011c).
Heart disease and stroke are two of the three leading causes of death in Canada. These statistics are based on 2008 data (the latest year available from Statistics Canada).
In 2008 cardiovascular disease accounted for (Statistics Canada, 2011c):
In 2008, of all cardiovascular deaths (Statistics Canada, 2011c):
For 2008 provincial and national mortality tables, go to Statistics Canada.
Heart disease and stroke costs the Canadian economy more than $20.9 billion every year in physician services, hospital costs, lost wages and decreased productivity (Conference Board of Canada, 2010).
Canadian acute care hospitals handled almost three million (2.8 million) hospitalizations in 2009-2010 and approximately 14% less than in 1995. Although this number has decreased by 14% since 1995–1996, it has remained stable since 2001–2002. (Canadian Institutes for Health Information [CIHI], 2011).
In 2005/06 there were (Public Health Agency of Canada [PHAC], 2009):
The leading cause of hospitalization in Canada continues to be heart disease and stroke, accounting for 16.9 % of total hospitalizations (19.8% of all hospitalizations for men and 14.0% for women) (PHAC, 2009).
In 2007, 1.3 million Canadians (4.8% of Canadians – 4.2% of girls and women and 5.3% of boys and men 12 years of age and older) reported having heart disease (PHAC, 2009).
There are an estimated 70,000 heart attacks each year in Canada. That’s one heart attack every 7 minutes.
Almost 16,000 Canadians die each year as the result of a heart attack. Most of these deaths occur out of hospital (Statistics Canada, 2012c).
The number of heart attack-related hospitalizations has increased steadily over the past decade (1994-95 to 2003-04) (CIHI, 2005).
Up to 40,000 cardiac arrests occur each year in Canada. That’s one cardiac arrest every 12 minutes. Without rapid and appropriate treatment, most of these cardiac arrests will result in death. Thousands of lives could be saved through public access to automated external defibrillators.
As many as 85% of all cardiac arrests occur in homes and public places (Vaillancourt & Stiell, 2004).
After more than 12 minutes of ventricular fibrillation, the survival rate from cardiac arrest is less than 5% (Hazinski et al, 2004).
For every 1 minute delay in defibrillation, the survival rate of a cardiac arrest victim decreases by 7% to 10% (Larsen et al, 1993).
Combined with CPR, the use of an AED may increase the likelihood of survival by 75% or more (Weisfeldt et al, 2010).
Nine in 10 Canadians (90%) have at least one risk factor for heart disease or stroke (smoking, alcohol, physical inactivity, obesity, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes) (PHAC, 2009).
It is estimated that atrial fibrillation affects 1 to 2% of the population. The prevalence of atrial fibrillation increases with age (Go et al, 2001; Stewart et al, 2001).
Atrial fibrillation is the most common arrhythmia managed by emergency physicians and accounts for approximately one-third of hospitalizations for cardiac rhythm disturbances (Fuster et al, 2006).
Hospital admissions for atrial fibrillation have increased by 66% over the past 20 years due to an aging population and a rising prevalence of chronic heart disease (Friberg et al, 2003; Wattigney et al, 2003).
It is estimated 350,000 Canadians are living with atrial fibrillation. This number is an estimate because prevalence data is not collected for Canada. Numbers are expected to increase since the prevalence of atrial fibrillation increases with age, and Canada has an aging population.
About 6% of the population over 65 years of age and older live with atrial fibrillation (Sacco et al, 1997).
After the age of 55, the risk of developing atrial fibrillation doubles with each decade of life (Sacco et al, 1997, Benjamin et al, 1994).
Individuals with atrial fibrillation have 3 to 5 times greater risk for ischemic stroke (European Heart Rhythm Association et al, 2010).
It is estimated that 20% of all strokes are caused by atrial fibrillation (European Heart Rhythm Association et al, 2010).
It is estimated that there are 500,000 Canadians living with heart failure and 50,000 new patients are diagnosed each year (Ross et al, 2006).
Depending on the severity of symptoms, heart dysfunction, age and other factors, congestive heart failure can be associated with an annual mortality of between 5% and 50% (Canadian Cardiovascular Society [CCS], 2006).
The average annual mortality rate for congestive heart failure is 10% per year with a 50% five-year survival rate (CCS, 2001).
Up to 40% to 50% of people with congestive heart failure die within five years of diagnosis (CCS, 2001).
About 1 of every 100 babies born has some form of heart defect, representing 1% of births (Health Canada, 2002). These heart defects range from a tiny hole that will never require treatment, to a life-threatening heart defect in which blood carrying oxygen and nutrients is pumped throughout the body.
In Canada, there are almost 100,000 adults who, as children, had surgery to correct congenital heart defects (Marelli et al, 2006).
In 2010, heart transplants were performed in five provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia (CIHI, 2010).
In 2010, there were 167 heart transplants in Canada. This number reflects the number of transplants that occurred, not the number of recipients – some recipients may have received more than one transplant (CIHI, 2010).
On December 31, 2010, there were 135 people on the waiting list for a heart transplant (CIHI, 2010).
About 80% of strokes are ischemic caused by the interruption of blood flow to the brain due to a blood clot.
About 20% of strokes are hemorrhagic caused by uncontrolled bleeding in the brain.
Stroke is the third leading cause of death in Canada. Six percent of all deaths in Canada are due to stroke (Statistics Canada, 2012).
Each year, over 14,000 Canadians die from stroke (Statistics Canada, 2012).
Each year, more women than men die from stroke (Statistics Canada, 2012).
There are estimated 50,000 strokes in Canada each year. That’s one stroke every 10 minutes (Hakim, Silver, & Hodgson, 1998).
Each year 200 to 300 Canadian children will experience a perinatal stroke (Canadian Stroke Network [CSN], 2011a).
About 315,000 Canadians are living with the effects of stroke (PHAC, 2011c).
For every minute delay in treating a stroke, the average patient loses 1.9 million brain cells, 13.8 billion synapses, and 12 km of axonal fibres (Saver, 2006).
Each hour in which treatment does not occur, the brain loses as many neurons as it does in almost 3.6 years of normal aging (Saver, 2006).
Stroke costs the Canadian economy $3.6 billion a year in physician services, hospital costs, lost wages, and decreased productivity (2000 statistic) (PHAC, 2009).
Every year, patients with stroke spend more than 639,000 days in acute care in Canadian hospitals and 4.5 million days in residential care facilities (CSN, 2011b).
Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs)
Each year, about 15,000 people in Canada experience a TIA. Many more go unreported (Field, Green, Roy, Pedersen, & Hill, 2004).
The risk of recurrent stroke after a TIA is 10 to 20 percent within 90 days (CSN, 2011b).
People who have had a TIA are five times more likely to have a stroke over the next two years than the general population (CSN, 2011b).
According to the National Diabetes Surveillance System (2005), 6.6% of the population age 20 and over, have been diagnosed with diabetes (PHAC, 2009).
An estimated 2.5 million Canadians have been diagnosed with diabetes in 2010. From 2010 to 2020, another 1.2 million people are expected to be diagnosed with diabetes, bringing the total to about 3.7 million (Canadian Diabetes Association, 2009).
It is estimated that 90 to 95% of Canadians with diabetes have type 2 diabetes, while 5 to 10% have type 1 diabetes (PHAC, 2011a).
Gestational diabetes has been detected in approximately 3 to 5% of all pregnancies that resulted in a live birth (PHAC, 2011a).
The economic burden of diabetes in Canada is expected to be about $12.2 billion in 2010, measured in inflation adjusted 2005 dollars. The cost of the disease is expected to rise to $17 billion by 2020 (Canadian Diabetes Association, 2009).
Women and diabetes
Gestational diabetes has been detected in approximately 3 to 5% of all pregnancies that resulted in a live birth (PHAC, 2011a).
The proportion of people with diagnosed diabetes generally increases with age. The sharpest increase in the prevalence occurs after the age of 40 years. In 2008/2009 diabetes affected (PHAC, 2011a):
A woman with type 2 diabetes has an 8-fold greater risk of heart disease than a woman without diabetes (Laakso et al, 1995).
In 2012 (Health Canada, 2013) :
SMOKING RATE (%) BY PROVINCE: 2003-2012
In 1965, when monitoring began, an estimated 50% of the population smoked (Statistics Canada, 2002).
Based on trends to date, the rates of smoking among men and women are projected to continue to decline between now and 2015 (Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, 2006).
Teens and smoking
Teens between the ages of 15 and 19 who smoke consume an average of 11.1 cigarettes a day, down from 13 a day in 1999 (Health Canada, 2011 and Health Canada, 2012).
More than 90% of teenagers who smoke as few as 3 to 4 cigarettes a day may be trapped into a lifelong habit of regular smoking, which typically lasts some 35 to 40 years (Russell, 1990).
More than a million cigarettes are smoked each day by school-aged Canadians (Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, 2011).
Young adults and smoking
The highest smoking rates are for young adults ages 20 to 24 years at 20%, although greatly reduced from 35% in 1999 (Health Canada, 2011 and Health Canada, 2012).
Deaths from smoking and second-hand smoke
Smoking contributes to more than 37,000 deaths a year in Canada, of which almost 11,000 are heart disease and stroke-related (29% of all smoking-related deaths are heart disease and stroke-related) (Rehm et al, 2006).
Second-hand smoke causes at least 800 deaths in Canadian non-smokers from lung cancer and heart disease every year (Health Canada, 2006).
Smoking is responsible for 14.54% of all heart disease and stroke deaths.
If current rates of tobacco use continue, approximately 1 million Canadians will die over the next 20 years as a direct result of smoking and second-hand smoke (Makomaski & Kaiserman, 2004).
As soon as an individual quits smoking, the risk of heart disease and stroke begins to decrease (Health Canada, 2005).
In 2010, almost 58% of former smokers who quit smoking a year or more ago had not resumed smoking (Health Canada, 2011).
The percentage of people who remain smoke-free after one year of quitting ranges from 5% to 18% (Reid et al, 2001).
About 40% of Canadians have high blood cholesterol (Statistics Canada, 2012).
Canadians of all ages get more than one-fifth of their calories from "other foods," which are food and beverages that are not part of the Four Food groups (Statistics Canada, 2006).
Snacks, that is, food and drink consumed between meals, accounted for more calories than breakfast, and about the same number of calories as lunch (Statistics Canada, 2006).
Food consumption among adults is linked to their household income (Statistics Canada, 2006).
More than one-quarter of Canadians ages 31 to 50 get more than 35% of their total calories from fat, the threshold beyond which health risks increase (Statistics Canada, 2006).
Milk and alternatives
More than one-third of children ages 4 to 9 do not have the recommended two servings of milk products a day. By age 30, more than two-thirds of Canadians do not attain the recommended minimums (Garriguet, 2007; Statistics Canada, 2006).
Vegetables and fruit
Seven out of 10 children ages 4 to 8, and half of adults, do not eat the recommended daily minimum of five servings of vegetables and fruit (Statistics Canada, 2006).
56.2% of Canadians (age 12+) consume fewer than five servings of vegetables and fruit per day (PHAC, 2009).
Most Canadians consume far more sodium than is necessary. Results from the Canadian Community Health Survey – Nutrition indicate that among people aged 19 to 70 years of age, over 85% of men and 60% of women had sodium intakes exceeding the recommended upper limit (Garriguet, 2007).
It is estimated that Canadians consume 3,400 mg of sodium each day on average (Health Canada, 2010).
Results from the CCHS-Nutrition survey indicate that processed foods are the main source of sodium, accounting for 77% of average daily sodium intake. Another 12% occurs naturally in foods, and salt added during cooking (6%) or at the table (5%) makes up the remainder (Garriguet, 2007).
In 2001, Canadians spent 30% of their weekly food expenses in restaurants (Statistics Canada, 2003).
Nearly one in 10 meals and snacks is from a restaurant (Mattes & Donnelly, 1991).
Total foodservice sales in Canada in 2010 is projected to be $61.2 billion (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs, 2011).
Of all the money spent on food in Canada, 37.6% is spent in foodservice outlets (Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association [CFRA], 2011).
There are 81,400 foodservice outlets in Canada (CFRA, 2011).
60%, or over 3 in 5 of Canadian adults are overweight or obese (Statistics Canada, 2012b).
67% of Canadian men and 54% of Canadian women are overweight or obese (Statistics Canada, 2012b).
Children and obesity
In 1978/79, 3% of Canadian children and youth were obese. In the past 30 years that number has tripled and now 9% are obese (Shields, 2005).
31.5% of Canadian children and youth aged 5 to 17 years are overweight or obese, with 19.8% being overweight and 11.7% being obese (Roberts et al, 2012).* NOTE: This analysis uses World Health Organization cut points for obesity and overweight in children and youth and provides a larger number than previous analyses (26% of children and youth aged 6 to 19 years as overweight or obese (Tremblay et al, 2010). 31.5% does not indicate an increase in prevalence of obesity in Canada.
Children who are obese are at increased risk of remaining overweight or obese as adults (Serdula et al, 1993).
Children who report higher levels of watching TV or videos, or playing on the computer are more likely to be overweight or obese than those who report less time in front of the TV or computer (Shields, 2005).
Costs of obesity
Between 2000 and 2008 the annual economic costs of obesity in Canada increased by $735 million, from $3.9 to $4.6 billion in direct and indirect costs (PHAC, 2011b).
Deaths due to obesity
From 1985 to 2000, 57,000 deaths in Canada were associated with overweight and obesity (Katzmarzyk & Ardern, 2004).
Six million Canadian adults, or one in five, have high blood pressure, representing 19% of the adult population (Wilkins et al, 2010).
One in five Canadian adults (20%) have blood pressure readings in the high normal range and are considered pre-hypertensive (Wilkins et al, 2010).
Of Canadians with high blood pressure (Wilkins et al, 2010):
The Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) indicates that (Wilkins et al, 2010):
Among Canadian children and youth, 3.7% have a measured blood pressure that is considered borderline or elevated. Blood pressure is generally higher among overweight and obese children and youth (Roberts et al, 2012).
Women with high blood pressure have a 3.5-times greater risk of developing heart disease than women with normal blood pressure (Corrao et al, 1990).
Fifteen percent of adults (17% of men and 14% of women), accumulate the recommended 150 minutes per week of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity (Colley et al, 2011).
Among Canadian women ages 12 and over, 52.5% are physically inactive (PHAC, 2009).
Among Canadian men ages 12 and over, 46.5% are physically inactive (PHAC, 2009).
Only 13% of Canadians between the ages of 60 and 79 report meeting the weekly physical activity recommendations; the lowest of any group (Colley et al, 2011).
Children and physical activity
82% of Canadian teenagers may not be active enough to meet international guidelines for optimal growth and development (Craig & Cameron, 2004).
Girls are less active than boys with only 9% of boys and 4% of girls meeting Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines (Colley et al, 2011).
83% of children and youth from families earning incomes of at least $100,000 per year participated in sport compared to 66% from families earning less than $50,000 per year (Active Healthy Kids Canada, 2011).
Twenty two percent of Canadian children receive physical education at school daily, 44% receive physical education at school 1-2 days per week, 25% on 3-4 days of the week, and the remaining 9% reportedly receive no physical education at school (Active Healthy Kids Canada, 2011).
Physical education classes averaging 18 or more minutes a day can more than double the odds that an overweight or obese child becomes and remains physically active (McKenzie et al, 1995).
Costs of inactivity
Physical inactivity in Canada was responsible for an estimated total of $6.8 billion direct and indirect costs in 2001 (Janssen, 2012).
Nearly a quarter (23%) of Canadians report a high degree of life stress (PHAC, 2009).
A quarter of Canadian women aged 15 and over report a high degree of stress on most days (Turcotte, 2011).
Research shows an association between psychosocial and marital stress and heart disease in women (Orth-Gomer et al, 2000).
In 2010, 25% of males and 10% of females reported heavy drinking (five or more drinks, per occasion, at least once a month during the past year). Males aged 18 to 19 (39%) and 20 to 34 (41%) were the most likely to report heavy drinking, and females aged 18 to 19 (26%) and 20 to 34 (20%) were more likely to report heavy drinking than females in all other age groups (Statistics Canada, 2011b).
Circulatory diseases are the leading cause of death among First Nations people (Tjepkema et al, 2010).
In the First Nations communities, up to 46% of adults 18 years of age and older report smoking daily (Assembly of First Nations [AFN], 2007).
In the First Nations Regional Longitudinal Health Survey, 79% of First Nations adults are not sufficiently active, whereas 49% of First Nations adolescent males and 61% of First Nations adolescent females are not sufficiently active (AFN, 2007).
Obesity is more prevalent among off-reserve (38%) and on-reserve (35%) Aboriginal peoples than among the general population (23%) (AFN, 2007).
More than 40% of First Nations youth are either overweight or obese (AFN, 2007).
Eight percent of First Nations people with acceptable weight report having cardiovascular disease, compared to 16% who are overweight and 27% who are obese (AFN, 2007).
One in five (19.7%, age standardized) of First Nations adults age 18+ has been diagnosed with diabetes compared to one in 19 (5.2%) in the general Canadian population age 20+ (AFN, 2007).
Heart disease is about four times more prevalent among First Nations adults with diabetes as among those without diabetes (14.9% versus 3.3%) (AFN, 2007).
High blood pressure is about four times more prevalent among First Nations adults with diabetes as among those without diabetes (42% versus 10.3%) (AFN, 2007).
High blood pressure
High blood pressure is more prevalent among First Nations adults than the general population of Canada (20.4% versus 16.4%) (AFN, 2007).
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Medical guidelines (also called a clinical guideline, clinical protocol or clinical practice guideline) help standardize health care, incorporating the latest available scientific evidence. These documents identify best practices and standards of care, which can be used by healthcare providers for guidance regarding diagnosis, management, and treatment in specific areas of health care.
In an effort to deliver expert, up-to-date information, the Heart and Stroke Foundation uses the latest available guidelines to produce evidence based content on heart disease and stroke related issues on our website. Below is a list of guidelines used for this purpose: