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Heart disease rates falling, CDC says: What explains trend?

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(CBS) Heart disease is on the decline in the U.S., continuing a trend that began in the 1960s.

PICTURES - Heart disease hotspots: 14 states with highest rates

The percentage of Americans with coronary artery disease fell from 6.7 percent in 2006 to 6.0 percent in 2010, according to a nationwide telephone survey conducted by the CDC.

"This is the direct result of improved detection and treatment of high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well as smoking-prevention efforts," Dr. Gregg Fonarow, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, told USA Today.

But while the overall rate has fallen, the toll taken by heart disease varies sharply from state to state. In addition, age, sex, race/ethnicity, and education all seem to play a key role in who gets heart disease.

Men are significantly more likely to develop heart disease than women (7.8 percent vs. 4.6 percent). And 9.2 percent of people without a high school education have heart disease, compared to 4.6 percent who have more than a college degree.

What about the role of race/ethnicity? The survey shows that the highest incidence of heart disease is among American Indians, 11.6 percent of whom have ticker trouble. Blacks were next (6.5 percent having heart disease), followed by Hispanics (6.1 percent), whites (5.8 percent), and Asians/Pacific islanders (3.9 percent).

As for geography, the South remains a heart disease hotspot. Which state has the highest prevalence of heart disease? Which has the lowest? Click here to find out.

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