The States With the Least Heart Disease

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20. Nebraska
> Adults with cardiovascular disease: 6.6%
> Adults who’ve had heart attack: 3.4% (16th lowest)
> Population: 1,920,076

Nebraska has a relatively low rate of cardiovascular disease among its adult population. It is one of the most heavily medicated states. More than 65% of adults in the state take blood pressure medication, as compared to 61% of American adults. Some of Nebraska’s residents are increasing their risk of heart disease by consuming too much alcohol. More than one in five adults in the state report binge drinking, one of the highest binge drinking rates in the nation. Excessive or frequent alcohol use can lead to high blood pressure or other circulatory issues, which are risk factors for heart disease.

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19. Massachusetts
> Adults with cardiovascular disease: 6.6%
> Adults who’ve had heart attack: 3.5% (23rd lowest)
> Population: 6,859,819

Massachusetts has the highest share of adults reporting being in excellent health and is the state that has the highest rate of insured residents. The adult obesity rate is among the lowest and the number of doctors per 100,000 people is among the highest in the country. The adult smoking rate is among the lowest, too. However, the share of adults who are considered binge drinkers (five or more drinks on one occasion for men and four or more for women) is among the highest. Alcohol is a major risk factor for stroke and heart failure. It increases the level of fats in the blood, which may lead to restricted flow to the brain and other organs.

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18. North Dakota
> Adults with cardiovascular disease: 6.6%
> Adults who’ve had heart attack: 3.5% (23rd lowest)
> Population: 755,393

A relatively high share of North Dakota adults, 38.3%, have a healthy weight — the fourth highest rate in the country. This means that many state adults are not at an increased risk of heart disease and other circulatory issues. North Dakota adults also tend to feel well, reporting some of the lowest rates of mentally and physically unhealthy days of all states. However, the state has the highest binge drinking rate in the nation, as some 23.3% of adults in the state drink to excess. This may be partly why North Dakota is not higher on the list, despite other healthy behavior and lifestyle indicators.

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17. New York
> Adults with cardiovascular disease: 6.6%
> Adults who’ve had heart attack: 3.5% (23rd lowest)
> Population: 19,849,399

New York has one of the lowest rates of adult obesity in the country. In addition, more than a quarter of residents don’t exercise, which is above the national inactivity rate of 23.0%. Smoking is another risk factor, causing about one in four CVD-related deaths, and in New York, the adult smoking rate is also among the lowest in the country.

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16. Rhode Island
> Adults with cardiovascular disease: 6.5%
> Adults who’ve had heart attack: 3.5% (23rd lowest)
> Population: 1,059,639

With about 96 primary care physicians per 100,000 residents, Rhode Island residents more access to health care than the average American. Nationwide, there are less than 76 primary care doctors per 100,000 people. Rhode Island also has one of the highest rates of insured residents at 92.8%. This means that residents are more likely to visit a doctor and get treatment for chronic conditions or to schedule medical checkups that may detect heart problems before they become more serious.