Heart health

Women and heart disease: The most diagnosed states

March 26, 2013 at 4:01 PM ET

Women and Heart Disease
iVillage /
Women and Heart Disease

When it comes to heart disease, the #1 killer of women in America, we can all learn something from Utah. Women here have the lowest rate of heart disease and high blood pressure in the country. And they’re second only to Minnesota for the lowest rate of high cholesterol among women. Colorado women are also taking care of their tickers, ranking among the top five healthiest states in all three categories.

For some Southern states, it’s a completely different story. Women in West Virginia and Kentucky aren’t faring well when it comes to heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. They are in the bottom five—as in among the five least heart healthy states for women. Mississippi women have the highest high cholesterol and blood pressure in the country. Louisiana women also need to take control of their heart health. They are among the states with the highest rates of heart disease and high blood pressure. 


Why this is is so critically important? High cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke. High blood pressure is considered a “silent killer” because it has no symptoms yet can damage your arteries and lead to a heart attack, stroke, kidney damage, vision and memory, fluid in the lungs, angina or peripheral artery disease. And when plaque builds up in your arteries, the resulting heart disease puts you at increased risk of a heart attack. Smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, lack of physical activity and being overweight all increase a woman’s heart disease risk.

Another scary fact: Heart disease is deadlier than all forms of cancer, says The American Heart Association.

Here’s how the states rank when it comes to the percentage of women with high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease. Remember, #1 is the healthiest state, while #50 is the least healthy.

Heart Disease

RankState%
1Utah1.8
2Alaska1.9
2Hawaii1.9
4Colorado2
5New Hampshire2.2
6Connecticut2.3
6Montana2.3
8Maryland2.5
8New Mexico2.5
8North Dakota2.5
11Georgia2.6
12Arizona2.7
12Idaho2.7
12Oregon2.7
12Washington2.7
12Wyoming2.7
17California2.8
17Minnesota2.8
17New Jersey2.8
17Vermont2.8
17Virginia2.8
22Delaware2.9
22Iowa2.9
22Massachusetts2.9
22Nebraska2.9
26South Dakota3
27Illinois3.2
27Kansas3.2
27Texas3.2
27Wisconsin3.2
31Missouri3.3
31Nevada3.3
31New York3.3
31Ohio3.3
35Florida3.4
35North Carolina3.4
35Rhode Island3.4
38Mississippi3.5
38South Carolina3.5
40Indiana3.6
40Maine3.6
42Alabama3.7
43Arkansas3.8
43Pennsylvania3.8
45Michigan3.9
46Tennessee4.2
47Oklahoma4.3
48Louisiana4.4
49Kentucky5.1
50West Virginia6.5

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevenetion, 2009


High Cholesterol

RankState%
1Minnesota31.4
2Utah31.6
3Tennessee31.9
4Massachusetts32.4
5Colorado33
6Oregon33.6
7Vermont33.7
7Virginia33.7
9Alaska33.8
10New Mexico33.9
11Rhode Island34
12California34
12North Dakota34
14New Jersey34.3
15Connecticut34.4
16Maryland34.5
17Georgia34.7
17South Dakota34.7
17Wisconsin34.7
20Montana35
21Nebraska35.3
22Nevada35.6
23Iowa35.7
24Maine36.1
25Idaho36.2
25Illinois36.2
27Hawaii36.3
28Wyoming36.4
29Michigan36.5
30Washington36.6
31Louisiana36.7
32Ohio36.8
33Delaware36.9
34Missouri37.1
35Arizona37.4
35Kansas37.4
35New Hampshire37.4
38Arkansas37.9
38Pennsylvania37.9
40Florida38
41New York38.5
41North Carolina38.5
43Texas38.7
44Alabama39
45Indiana39.1
46Oklahoma39.3
47West Virginia39.6
48South Carolina39.9
49Kentucky41
50Mississippi41.2

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009

High Blood Pressure

RankState%
1Utah20.3
2Colorado20.7
3Minnesota21
4Wyoming23.7
5Arizona24.2
6Idaho25.2
7Vermont24.4
8California24.7
8Massachusetts24.7
8Oregon24.7
11New Mexico24.9
12Alaska25.1
13Nevada25.2
14Nebraska25.3
15Montana25.7
16North Dakota25.8
16Virginia25.8
16Washington25.8
19Connecticut25.9
20New Hampshire26.1
21Iowa27.2
21New Jersey27.2
23Delaware27.5
24New York27.6
25Michigan27.8
26Illinois28.1
27Maryland28.2
28Kansas28.4
29Rhode Island28.6
29South Dakota28.6
29Wisconsin28.6
32Maine28.7
33Texas29.4
34Indiana29.6
35Hawaii30.1
35Missouri30.1
37Georgia30.2
38Ohio30.4
39Florida30.5
40Pennsylvania30.6
41North Carolina31.4
42South Carolina31.7
43Arkansas32.4
44Tennessee33.5
45Oklahoma33.8
46Kentucky34.8
47Louisiana35.5
48West Virginia36.3
49Alabama36.6
50Mississippi38.9

Source: Centers for Disease Control, and Prevention 2009

See the State of Women methodology and sources.

A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.


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