The States With the Most Heart Disease

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15. Texas
> Adults with cardiovascular disease: 7.8%
> Adults who’ve had heart attack: 4.2% (13th highest)
> Population: 28,304,596

About a third of adult Texans do not have a personal doctor or health care provider, the second highest share in the country. Not having a personal doctor may result in fewer doctor visits and checkups that can potentially detect risk factors of heart conditions such as chronic high cholesterol or hypertension. About 17.3% of adults in the state are uninsured, the highest uninsured rate of all states. Lack of physical activity may also help explain the state’s high share of heart disease. Texas has the highest share of adult residents who do not exercise for the recommended 150 minutes per week (58.1%) and the fifth highest share of adults who do not engage in physical activity at least once a month (32.1%.)

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14. Ohio
> Adults with cardiovascular disease: 7.9%
> Adults who’ve had heart attack: 4.1% (14th highest)
> Population: 11,658,609

Negative health outcomes such as obesity as well as poor health habits such as not exercising and smoking may help explain Ohio’s high cardiovascular disease rate among adults — all mentioned factors are among the highest in the country. About 22.5% of adults are regular smoker, the sixth highest smoking rate of all states and above the national rate of 17.0%. A bad diet can also be a contributing factor to heart disease, especially one that lacks fruits and vegetables. Ohio has the third highest share of adults who do not eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables in a day.

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13. North Carolina
> Adults with cardiovascular disease: 7.9%
> Adults who’ve had heart attack: 3.7% (22nd highest)
> Population: 10,273,419

One possible reason for the state’s high prevalence of cardiovascular disease may be lack of health insurance. More than one in 10 people do not have health insurance, the 10th highest uninsured rate of all states and above the national rate of 8.7%. Having no insurance may discourage people from going to the doctor even when they exhibit possible symptoms because of the expense. Further, without annual checkups, high cholesterol levels may not be detected — high cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease. More than a third of adults in North Carolina have high cholesterol, more than the national average of 32.3%.

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12. South Carolina
> Adults with cardiovascular disease: 8.0%
> Adults who’ve had heart attack: 4.0% (17th highest)
> Population: 5,024,369

Obesity, lack of health insurance, and poverty may lead to negative health outcomes, including heart disease. In South Carolina, all three factors rank among the 10 highest of all states. Also, 13.4% of adults in the state have been told they are diabetic, the fifth highest share of all states. Diabetics are more likely to develop heart disease as they are more likely to develop certain risk factors of heart disease such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This may also explain why South Carolina is among the states with the largest shares of heart disease.

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11. Georgia
> Adults with cardiovascular disease: 8.6%
> Adults who’ve had heart attack: 4.3% (tied, 11th highest)
> Population: 10,429,379

Typical heart disease risk factors such as obesity and smoking rates among Georgia’s adults do not vary greatly from the national average. But the lack of health coverage and number of physicians per 100,000 people as a whole are do vary and worse than the national average, and that may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Georgia has the 10th lowest concentration of primary care doctors per capita than all other states and the fifth lower concentration of dentists per capita. Dentists can detect heart disease because one of the signs is swollen and bleeding gums.