Special Report

The States With the Most Heart Disease

One in every four deaths in the United States is caused by heart disease, or 610,000 deaths a year. Heart disease is by far the leading cause of death in the country.

On average, 6.9% of American adults have some form of major cardiovascular disease and 3.6% have suffered a heart attack. Cardiovascular disease comprises conditions affecting the heart, the most common of which are coronary artery disease, heart attack, and arrhythmia.

High blood pressure and high cholesterol, and smoking are major risk factors for heart disease. Nearly half of Americans either have one of the conditions or smoke. In addition to smoking, unhealthy behaviors such as poor diet and lack of physical activity also increase a person’s risk of developing a cardiovascular disease.

Across populations, high rates of these factors can have an impact on the prevalence of heart disease, as is the case in some states across the country. Nine of the 10 states with the highest shares of adults with heart disease also have among the highest obesity, smoking, and inactivity rates among adults in the United States.

Eight of the 10 states with the highest shares of adults with heart disease also have among the highest poverty rates in the country. The median annual household income in these states is between $43,000 and $55,000 compared to a national median of over $60,000.

Click here to see the states with the highest rates of heart disease.

To determine the states with the most heart disease, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the share of residents 18 or older who had a major cardiovascular disease as of 2015, the latest year for which data is available, with data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Also from the CDC BRFSS, we reviewed the share of adults who had coronary disease and at least one episode of heart attack as of 2015. Population figures are from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 1-year American Community Survey.

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