Where You Live Impacts Your Heart

Heart disease reductions varies by location and ethnicity

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) There has been a steady decline in the number of Americans with coronary heart disease in recent years, yet rates vary by race and ethnicity, and residents of some states have a risk that is more than double other geographic regions.

Between 2006 and 2010, the number of Americans with coronary heart disease dropped from 6.7 percent to 6 percent, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported. The data was derived from CDC's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an annual phone survey of adults over the age of 18.

"Ask your doctor about local "best-practices' to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol."

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States despite the decline, which was attributed to a reduction in smoking, better management of high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and improvements in treatments for cardiovascular disease.

Adults over the age of 65 reported the highest rate of heart disease at 20 percent, while American Indians and Alaskan Natives were the ethnicity with the highest rate at 12 percent.

Geographic region also appeared to vary substantially with a larger proportion of southern states reporting higher levels of heart disease.The lowest rates were reported in Hawaii with 3.7 percent and the District of Columbia with 3.8 percent.  States where heart disease was most prevalent included West Virginia, which reported 8 percent, and Kentucky with 8.2 percent.

Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the CDC, said that where you live and how you live matters to your heart. In making further reductions, he noted that the national Million Hearts initiative, with a goal of preventing one million heart attacks and strokes over the next five years, is largely focused on actions individuals can take themselves with support from businesses, communities and health care providers.

The Million Hearts initiative has several key goals including increasing aspirin use for those at risk, encouraging smoking cessation and urging better control of blood pressure and cholesterol.

“We're all at risk for heart disease and stroke,” said Dr. Jing Fang, an epidemiologist with CDC′s division of heart disease and stroke prevention. “People of all ages, genders, races, and ethnicities are affected. However, certain groups, including American Indians/Alaskan Natives, African Americans and older adults, are at higher risk than others.”

The report was published Oct. 13 in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
October 13, 2011
Last Updated:
October 14, 2011