Heart Disease

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Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, causing about 1 in 4 deaths. In the United States, the most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease (CAD, or ischemic heart disease), which can lead to heart attack. A heart attack, or acute myocardial infarction, happens when the blood supply to part of the heart muscle is severely reduced or stopped. Several factors can be involved in the increased risk for heart disease. These factors can include health conditions, lifestyle risk factors, genetic and family history, and environment.

We Track That

The Tracking Network uses data from the U.S. Census Bureauexternal icon, hospital and emergency department databases provided by state and/or local health departments, and death certificates from the National Center for Health Statistics to calculate state and local data about heart disease. Estimates of prevalence of heart attacks and ischemic heart disease are largely based on survey samples (e.g., National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and National Ambulatory Care Survey) or large cohort studies such as the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study.

Types of Data

These indicators provide information about health effects due to heart disease. These data will allow for monitoring of trends over time and have the potential to identify high risk groups not reflected in current national data. These data may also inform prevention, evaluation, and program planning efforts.

Heart Attack Hospitalizations
This indicator uses data collected by hospitals and estimates the number and rate of people who were admitted to the hospital due to heart attack. It can be used to identify trends and patterns in hospitalizations due to heart attacks. The data are organized by different variables to help estimate the number of hospital admissions for heart attacks. The variables include time periods, age groups, gender, and geographic areas such as states and counties.

Heart Disease Mortality
These indicators used data collected by vital records from CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. Data can be used to identify trends in the mortality of heart disease (heart attack, coronary heart disease). The variables include time periods, age groups, sex, race/ethnicity, and geographic areas such as states and counties.

Coronary Heart Disease Prevalence – 500 Cities
The primary data sources are the CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, the Census 2010 population, and the American Community Survey estimates. The data shows crude rate of coronary heart disease for specific cities or neighborhoods within cities.

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Data in Action

Tracking heart disease will help with:

  • examination of time trends;
  • identification of any seasonal patterns;
  • assessment of geographic differences;
  • evaluation of differences in heart disease by age, gender, and race/ethnicity; and
  • determination of populations in need of targeted interventions.

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Page last reviewed: October 21, 2020