Though heart disease is the leading cause of death in the state and the country, Mississippi has seen a 19.6 percent decrease in deaths attributed to heart disease from 2004–2013. The numbers are even better for women in the state, down 22.5 percent, while men saw a 17.8 percent decrease overall in those 10 years.
Mississippi’s black women in particular have made the greatest strides in the state, with heart disease mortality down 25 percent over the last 10 years, while mortality among white women was down 21.5 percent. For white men in the state the mortality rate was down 20 percent, while black men came in last at a 12.9 percent decrease.
High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 49 percent of Americans have at least one of these three risk factors. Several other medical conditions and lifestyle choices can also put people at a higher risk for heart disease, including diabetes, obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity and excessive alcohol use.
The 2013 Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System reported that 38.2 percent of adults had no leisure time physical activity for a 30-day period.
“Mississippians characteristically have low rates of physical activity,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs. “In 2015, Mississippi was ranked 49th for overall health by America’s Health Rankings. The state ranked 45th for smoking, 48th in obesity and last for physical inactivity,” he said.
Incorporating physical activity into daily life can be done by making small changes, such as parking farther away from your destination or using stairs instead of elevators. “Along with the right diet, maintaining an exercise regimen has been shown to decrease the risk of heart-related diseases. MSDH recommends taking a brisk 30-minute walk five days a week,” Dobbs said.
The term heart disease refers to several types of heart conditions. The most common type of heart disease in the United States is coronary artery disease, which affects the blood flow to the heart. Decreased blood flow can cause a heart attack.
Follow MSDH by e-mail and social media at HealthyMS.com/connect.
Press Contact: MSDH Office of Communications, (601) 576-7667
Note to media: After hours or during emergencies, call 1-866-HLTHY4U (1-866-458-4948)