According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)'s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, West Virginia has a higher prevalence of heart disease than any other state, while the U.S. Virgin Islands has the lowest.
The findings were based on an analysis of 2005 data collected through the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a random phone survey of adults conducted by state and territorial health departments.
Levels of coronary heart disease, heart attack and angina were found to vary widely across U.S. states and territories.
Heart disease has been America's leading cause of death for the last 80 years, and
the report tracks heart attack, angina or coronary heart disease among civilians not living in nursing homes, prisons, or other institutions.
The CDC calculated the percentage of people who said they had been told by a doctor or other health professional that they had a history of at least one of the conditions, as of 2005.
The percentages ranged from a low of about 3.5% adults in the U.S. Virgin Islands to a high of 10.4% in West Virginia.
Coronary heart disease is a narrowing of arteries that supply blood to the heart. Angina is chest pain that occurs when the heart doesn't receive enough blood.
Areas with the lowest levels of these three heart problems were: Colorado, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Montana, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Utah, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
"These findings show the importance of preventing and controlling known risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, tobacco use, physical inactivity, type 2 diabetes, and obesity," says study lead author Jonathan Neyer, an epidemiologist in CDC's Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention.