West Virginia Ranks First In Heart Disease

West Virginia has a higher prevalence of heart disease than any other state; while the U.S. Virgin Islands has the lowest, according to the CDC.

Heart disease has been America's leading cause of death for the last 80 years, notes the CDC, which today released its first state-by-state report on adult heart disease prevalence.

The report tracks heart attack, angina (chest pain), or coronary heart disease among civilians not living in nursing homes, prisons, or other institutions.

The CDC calculated the percentage of people who said they had been told by a doctor or other health professional that they had a history of at least one of the conditions, as of 2005.

The percentages ranged from a low of about 3.5% adults in the U.S. Virgin Islands to a high of 10.4% in West Virginia.

For a full list of state results, click here.

Overall, 6.5% of U.S. adults reported a history of at least one of the three heart conditions studied.

Heart disease prevalence was particularly high in states along the lower Mississippi and Ohio River valleys – the so-called "coronary valley" region, states a CDC news release.

The reasons for that geographical pattern aren't clear, but past studies have shown a high rate of heart deaths and heart disease risk factors in the areas, the CDC notes.

About the Study

Data came from 356,000 adults who participated in 2005 government health survey conducted by telephone.

Participants were asked if they had ever been told by a doctor or other health professional that they had had "a heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction ... or angina, or coronary heart disease."

The CDC didn't check participants' medical records to confirm their self-reported heart health history. The data doesn't include any undiagnosed heart problems or heart deaths.

The report appears in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Sex, Education, Race Results

The report shows such heart disease was more common among men than women. About 8% of men had had at least one of the conditions studied, compared with 5% of women.

Heart disease prevalence rose with age and fell with higher levels of education.

Nearly one in five people aged 65 and older reported a history of at least one of the conditions studied, compared with nearly 8% of those 45-64, and less than 2% of 18- to 44-year-olds.

About 10% of those with less than a high school diploma reported a history of one or more of the conditions -- "nearly twice the proportion among college graduates (5%)," the report states.

Blacks and whites had identical disease prevalence (6.2%).

But prevalence was "substantially higher" for American Indians/Alaska Natives (11.2%) and multiracial people (9%), states the CDC.

Heart Disease: State Results

Below are the results for heart disease prevalence, along with the percentage of adults reporting a history of one of the conditions studied (heart attack, angina, or coronary heart disease).

The states and territories are listed in order from highest to lowest prevalence. Ties are listed alphabetically.
2. Puerto Rico: 10.2%
3. Kentucky: 8.8%
4. Mississippi: 8.0%
5. Louisiana: 7.9%
6. Tennessee: 7.6%
7. Oklahoma: 7.5%
8. Alabama: 7.4%
8. Florida: 7.4%
9. Missouri: 7.3%
10. Arizona: 7.0%
10. Texas: 7.0%
11. Idaho: 6.9%
11. Delaware: 6.9%
11. Michigan: 6.9%
12. Indiana: 6.8%
13. Arkansas: 6.7%
14. North Carolina: 6.6%
15. Nevada: 6.5%
15. South Carolina: 6.5%
15. Virginia: 6.5%
16. Kansas: 6.3%
17. New Hampshire: 6.2%
18. Ohio: 6.2%
18. Pennsylvania: 6.2%
19. Georgia: 6.1%
19. Maine: 6.1%
19. South Dakota: 6.1%
20. California: 6.0%
20. Illinois: 6.0%
20. New Jersey: 6.0%
20. Vermont: 6.0%
21. Iowa: 5.9%
22. New York: 5.8%
22. North Dakota: 5.8%
23. Massachusetts: 5.7%
24. Maryland: 5.6%
24. Rhode Island: 5.6%
25. Alaska: 5.5%
25. Oregon: 5.5%
25. Washington: 5.5%
26. Connecticut: 5.4%
27. Nebraska: 5.3%
27. Wisconsin: 5.3%
27. Wyoming: 5.3%
28. New Mexico: 5.2%
29. Montana: 5.1%
30. Minnesota: 5.0%
31. Utah: 5.0%
32. Hawaii: 4.9%
33. Colorado: 4.8%
33. Washington, D.C.: 4.8%
34. U.S. Virgin Islands: 3.5%

By Miranda Hitti
Reviewed by Louise Chang