Harvard Heart Letter

Heart beat: States of the heart

Heart beat

States of the heart

While the country may be politically divided into red states and blue states, when it comes to heart disease there are only red states and redder states. A survey of more than 350,000 people by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that about 14.5 million Americans over age 18 are living with heart disease. The percentage varies from a low of 4.8% in Colorado to a high of 10.4% in West Virginia. Many of the states with the highest rates are clustered in the lower Mississippi and Ohio River valleys.

Maps like these aren't merely a geographer's whim. The regional differences they reveal can help researchers identify constellations of risk factors that might contribute to heart disease.

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