What is the risk of death from cardiovascular disease?

Of the approximately 140,000 deaths per year in our country, 39,000 are due to cardiovascular disease. In other words, in 28% of deaths it is caused by heart problems, vascular blockage or vascular rupture. It is the most common cause of death after cancer (31%). It is usually caused by our lifestyle and the substances we consume. Think of smoking or eating a lot of fatty foods, which makes us too fat. If heart or vascular problems are found, what is the chance of death?

Risk of death from cardiovascular disease

  • Increasing number of cases with increasing age
  • Coronary heart disease (myocardial infarction)
  • Heart failure
  • TIA, stroke, cerebral infarction
  • AAA: abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • Death data CBS cardiovascular disease

Increasing number of cases with increasing age

Death from cardiovascular disease statistically happens to people who are very old. Before the age of 40, it is practically never a cause for death, but the risk of death increases progressively as we get older. Cardiovascular diseases are an important cause of death, especially after the age of 60. The most striking thing is that men in particular die from coronary heart disease in 35% of cases by the age of 85, while this is approximately 20% for women. Cardiovascular diseases are therefore increasingly responsible for death as people get older. How often do people die from the different types of cardiovascular disease?

Coronary heart disease (myocardial infarction)

If a person has a lot of chest pain and pain radiating to the left arm, there is a good chance that it is an acute myocardial infarction. Approximately 82,000 people are admitted to hospital each year. In total there are approximately 650,000 patients in our country and this is growing steadily. Of all citizens, 5.0% of men and 2.9% of women develop coronary heart disease. Nearly 3.2% of men and 1.5% of women will experience an acute myocardial infarction at some point in their lives. Whether the person can be saved or not depends on the response speed of the emergency services. Of the 26,500 acute myocardial infarctions per year, roughly 7,000 people die.

Heart failure

Although most people are familiar with heart attacks, a large group also dies from heart failure. This is the circumstance where the pumping function works less well, causing problems. The valves no longer fit properly, a leak has developed or the aging muscles no longer work properly. Approximately 170,000 people are patients in our country, with 39,400 new admissions every year. This concerns 0.6% men and 0.85% women across all residents. The proportion of deaths also shows a progressive increase with age. This table is expressed in percentages of the total population per age category.

Age category



15-64 years



>65 years



>85 years



TIA, stroke, cerebral infarction

A vascular blockage or burst vessel can also occur in the brain. In that case it concerns a cerebral infarction, stroke or TIA. A TIA is the least invasive form and should be seen as a warning. A blood clot forms a temporary blockage, causing you to be unable to function properly for approximately fifteen minutes. A stroke already increases in intensity, causing serious damage. A heart attack causes part of the brain to die and can be fatal. Every year, approximately 23,500 men and 23,000 women have a first stroke or TIA. Approximately 200,000 people have had this and that translates to 0.16% of men and 0.19% of women. Of these, this concerns 29,000 TIAs and 11,000 diagnosed strokes per year (in nursing homes).

(Age category



<65 years

65-74 years



>75 years



subarachnoidal haemorrhage






cerebral infarction









AAA: abdominal aortic aneurysm

An aneurysm is a weakening of the vessel wall, which can cause bleeding. Strictly speaking, this can occur anywhere in the body, but a prominent place is in the abdomen. Although it is relatively less common compared to other forms of cardiovascular disease, it is immediately acute and life-threatening. Below is the distinction according to the number of deaths per year:

Type of aneurysm



AAA with rupture



AAA without rupture



There is a relatively large difference between men and women, as the risk of this happening is 2.25 times greater for men. This probably has to do with the fact that there are relatively many men with a big belly.

Death data CBS cardiovascular disease

The Central Bureau of Statistics keeps track of exactly what causes the population to die. These data are based on the cause of death registered by the hospital or general practitioner. A distinction has been made between figures from 1997 and 2012, so that a trend becomes clear. Of all deaths from cardiovascular disease, it is striking that the proportion of both men and women is declining. It can be explained by improved treatment methods and possibly faster response time in acute cases. In the table below you will find the number of deaths within the cardiovascular disease group compared to the total for men and women in our country.

Clinical picture

men / 1997

men / 2012

women / 1997

women / 2012

Total amount

67,243 100%

67,907 100%

68,540 100%

72,906 100%

Total H&V diseases

24,311 36.1%

18,027 26.5%

25,450 37.1%

20,344 27.9%

Acute myocardial infarction

8,064 12.0%

3,514 5.2%

6,210 9.1%

2,681 3.7%

Other heart diseases

5,205 7.7%

5,612 8.3%

6,446 9.4%

7,201 9.9%

Cerebral vascular system/stroke/TIA

4,745 7.1%

3,286 4.8%

7,401 10.8%

5,186 7.1%

Other cardiovascular diseases

3,292 4.9%

3,438 5.1%

3,318 4.8%

3,928 5.4%

Because lifestyle is largely responsible for these deaths, it is important to live a healthy life. Lose weight to a favorable weight, do not consume excessive amounts of saturated fats and fast-burning carbohydrates. In addition, quit smoking and limit alcohol intake. These elements can ensure that life expectancy greatly improves. Please note that the previous data is subject to change every year, but it gives a good picture of the share of the total number of deaths.

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