Mississippi has by far the highest rate of heart failure in the United States – with annual death rates seven times that of other states.
Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic and Emory University found that Mississippi averaged 7.98 heart failure deaths per 100,000 population from 1999 to 2019 — by far the worst rate in America.
Magnolia State’s eastern neighbor, Alabama, came second with a figure of 5.24 per 100,000, which is significantly lower. Minnesota had the lowest rates of heart failure, with 1.09 per 100,000 members of the population – just 13% of Mississippi’s total.
Rising rates of cardiovascular problems in the South have long been known to health officials, with poor diets, sedentary lifestyles, higher poverty rates believed to be to blame. The top ten states in terms of heart disease deaths are all in the southern United States.
Mississippi has by far the highest rate of heart failure in America, with only neighboring states like Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina reaching half its rate.
The researchers, who published their findings Wednesday in JAMA Cardiology, collected information on 61,729 heart failure-related deaths that occurred in America from 1999 to 2019.
They then adjusted the data for age, so that older populations who are naturally at higher risk for these types of conditions don’t weigh down the data.
Mississippi has proven to be the leader by far, and experts on the subject have been warning for years.
Heart failure issues like obesity and high blood pressure are already more prevalent in the South than in other parts of America.
People who suffer from these chronic conditions in Magnolia State are generally worse off, as it is consistently ranked as having the worst healthcare system in America.
It’s not just Mississippi, though. Heart problems have plagued much of the South in recent decades.
Alabama, which shares its western border with Mississippi, is second in the rate of heart failure with 5.24 per 100,000 people dying from the disease each year.
The ten states with the highest rate of heart failure
- Mississippi (7.98 annual deaths per 100,000 population)
- Alabama (5.24)
- Arkansas (4.87)
- Louisiana (4.85)
- South Carolina (4.62)
- Oklahoma (4.26)
- Georgia (3.82)
- Kentucky (3.56)
- Tennessee (3.46)
- West Virginia (3.46
The ten states with the lowest rate of heart failure
- Minnesota (1.09 annual deaths per 100,000 population)
- New Hampshire (1.12)
- Massachusetts (1.23)
- Vermont (1.29)
- Connecticut (1.34)
- Wisconsin (1.51)
- Iowa (1.52)
- Maine (1.61)
- Maryland (1.63)
- New Jersey (1.65)
“One in four Alabamians is obese and has high blood pressure. We are one of the worst performing states nationally when it comes to cardiovascular risk factors. Dr. Pankaj Arora of the University of Alabama – Birmingham spoke about his condition’s situation last year.
Only three other US states have had a rate above four deaths per 100,000 people – and all of them are in the south.
Arkansas and Louisiana – which lie along the western Mississippi border – have the third and fourth highest death rates from heart failure with 4.87 and 4.85 deaths per 100,000 population, respectively.
South Carolina is fourth, recording 4.62 deaths per 100,000 population each year. Oklahoma rounds out the top five with 4.26 per 100,000.
The states with the next highest rates, Georgia (3.82 annual deaths per 100,000 population), Kentucky (3.56), Tennessee (3.46) and West Virginia (3.46) are also found in the area.
The healthiest hearts in America appear to be concentrated in the Midwest and Northeast regions of the country, researchers have found.
Southern states that have higher poverty rates also tend to have higher heart failure rates, while wealthier northern states have lower rates.
Minnesota has the fewest deaths per 100,000 population, at just 1.09.
The northeastern group from New Hampshire (1.12), Massachusetts (1.23), Vermont (1.29) and Connecticut (1.34) is the second healthiest, followed by a series of Midwestern states, Wisconsin (1.51) and Iowa (1.52).
Rates of heart failure across America correlate strongly with poverty rates in each state, with wealthier states largely concentrated in the Northeast and Midwest, and poorer states mostly in the South.
Experts have long associated poverty with poor cardiovascular health. A poorer person is more likely to have a poor diet and less likely to have regular access to a doctor.
They may also not be able to afford the medications needed to manage their health issues.
A 2019 National Institutes of Health report also indicates that many poor people live more stressful lives than their wealthier peers, which can have a significant impact on their health over time.