ATLANTA — Despite declines in the number of Americans reporting coronary heart disease, rates vary widely between states and between racial and ethnic groups, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC's "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report" found that between 2006 and 2010, the number of people reporting that a health professional had told them they had coronary heart disease — a term that comprises heart attacks and chest pain — had declined overall from 6.7% to 6%. The decline was the result of reductions in the number of people who smoke, who have uncontrolled high blood pressure and cholesterol, and improvements in treatments for heart disease.
Nevertheless, the highest rates of self-reported coronary heart disease were found among elderly people, of whom 19.8% reported having it, and among Native Americans and Alaskan Natives, who displayed rates of 11.6%. In addition, while Hawaii and the District of Columbia showed low prevalences (3.7% and 3.8%, respectively), states in the South showed much higher rates, with the highest prevalence (8.2%) in West Virginia and Kentucky.
"Where you live and how you live matters to your heart," CDC director Thomas Frieden said. "The Million Hearts national initiative, which can prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes over the next five years, focuses on actions people can take themselves and actions that businesses, communities and health providers can take to prevent heart attacks and strokes today."