healthy heart

Heart Disease Life Expectancy: What is the Average?

Close to 31 million adult Americans have been diagnosed with heart disease, but there are countless more who have early heart disease but have not yet been diagnosed. Each year, close to 660,000 people in the USA alone die from heart disease; that is one death every 35 seconds. In this article, we discuss heart disease life expectancy.

The cost of care for patients with heart disease is close to $360 billion each year, and the overall quality of life of these individuals can be quite poor.  Learn how to better control your heart disease life expectancy in this article.

During a heart attack, the muscle is unable to receive oxygen because of the blocked arteries; and if the blood is not restored within 90 minutes, permanent damage can result. Eventually, the heart will no longer be able to pump effectively. 

In general, when one is diagnosed with heart disease, life expectancy can be reduced.  Learn how you can increase your heart disease life expectancy by being proactive in your care and asking for heart disease screening.

Life Expectancy After a Heart Attack

It is difficult to predict exactly how long an individual will live after experiencing a heart attack, but despite significant improvements in treatment, recent studies reveal the following:

  1. The life expectancy of both men and women decreases after a heart attack.
  2. In both men and women, the decrease in life expectancy is similar.
  3. The most severe reductions in life expectancy are seen in African-Americans compared to Caucasians.
  4. Overall, life expectancy may decrease by about 8-10% of your expected life. For example, a person with no heart disease will be expected to die around age 85, but in the presence of a heart attack, the life expectancy will be reduced by 10% or 8.5 years.

Warning Signs of a Heart Attack

The treatment increasing heart disease life expectancy has dramatically improved over the past two decades, but the key is that the individual must go as soon as possible to the hospital after the onset of symptoms. The reason is that there are treatments that can open the clogged blood vessels and restore blood flow to the heart, which results in an improvement in symptoms and a much better prognosis. For patients with heart disease, a family history of heart disease, or those with risk factors for heart disease, here are some early warning symptoms of a heart attack:

  1. Chest pain or discomfort is probably one of the most common symptoms of a heart attack. The chest pain may last a few minutes and subside at rest. Others may describe the chest discomfort as fullness, pressure, or a squeezing type of sensation around the chest. 
  2. In some people, especially women, the pain may radiate to the neck, left arm, and back. This pain may be described as tearing or burning in nature and should not be ignored.
  3. Frequently, a heart attack will be associated with shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, and chest pain. The shortness of breath may be worse when lying down and may even occur at rest. This symptom should never be ignored.
  4. During a heart attack, you can develop several other symptoms that include lightheadedness, nausea, breaking out in a heavy sweat, no exercise endurance, and extreme fatigue.

If the above symptoms appear, never drive yourself to the hospital but always call 911. The quicker you get to the hospital, the better the outcome.

Improving Life Expectancy

If you have had a heart attack, there are ways to improve your heart disease life expectancy. The key is to lower your risk factors, which include the following:

  • Do not smoke. It is a high risk for recurrence of a heart attack. 
  • Lose weight. If you are overweight or obese, you must take steps to reduce your weight.
  • Become physically active. One of the best ways to improve your life expectancy is to do some type of physical activity. This can include walking, swimming, or cycling – but it has to be consistent. Exercise will not only help you lower your body weight, but it will make it easier to control your cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
  • Medication compliance. If you have been prescribed medication to control your blood pressure, be compliant. Unmanaged high blood pressure can lead to a recurrent heart attack and even a stroke.
  • Control your blood sugars. If you are diabetic, you must make every effort to ensure that your blood sugars stay on the low side. Unmanaged blood sugars can cause devastating complications not only to the heart but your eyes, kidneys, and nerves, just to name a few problematic areas.
  • Lower your cholesterol. If you have high cholesterol, you should try and lower it because this fat is known to clog blood vessels. You may start by changing your diet, followed by exercise. If that doesn’t help, you may need a prescription medication to lower your cholesterol.
  • Keep doctor appointments. Maintaining a schedule of care with your doctor will allow the healthcare provider to screen for any heart problems much earlier.
  • Enter cardiac rehab. After a heart attack, many individuals are encouraged to participate in cardiac rehabilitation. This activity allows you to improve your physical fitness and lower the stress in your life.
  • Eat a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean or the Dash diet. These diets are more plant-based and contain less meat and salt.

Screening Tests

Today, healthcare providers can employ a variety of heart disease screening tests to check your heart and they include the following:

  • ECG to check your heart rate rhythm and previous heart attacks.
  • Stress test to determine your exercise tolerance.
  • Echocardiogram to look at your heart and valves.
  • Calcium score to assess the coronary arteries. The higher the calcium level, the higher the probability that you have coronary artery plaque.


A significant number of people who have had a heart attack go on to lead productive lives with a good quality of life, as long as they manage to change their lifestyle. Work with your healthcare provider to get heart disease screening that can help determine what changes you need to make in your life to improve your outcome. Increase your heart disease life expectancy.

Cano Health is passionate about caring for seniors and, therefore, they are known for their innovative programs to help people practice wellness and enjoy a longer, higher quality of life.  

In September 2021, Cano Health launched a new Cardiovascular Disease prevention Program, Healthy Heart by Dr. Juan.  Learn about improving your life when living with heart disease and how to live a quality life longer with the disease by calling Cano Health today at 855-447-6059.


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