Mississippi records 50% more deaths from heart failure than any other state

Mississippi has far and away the highest rate of heart failure in the United States – with annual fatality rates septupling those of other states.

Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic and Emory University found that Mississippi averaged 7.98 heart failure deaths per 100,000 members of the population from 1999 to 2019 – by far the worst rate in America.

The Magnolia state’s eastern neighbor, Alabama, came in second at a 5.24 per 100,000 figure which is significantly lower. Minnesota recorded the lowest rates of heart failure, with 1.09 per every 100,000 members of the population – only 13 percent of Mississippi’s total.

Increased rates of cardiovascular issues in the south have been long-known by health officials, with poor diets, sedentary lifestyles, higher poverty rates believed to be at fault. Top the top ten states in heart disease deaths are all in the U.S. south.

Mississippi has far and away the highest rate of heart failure in America, with only nearby states like Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina reaching half of its rate

Researchers, who published their findings Wednesday in JAMA Cardiology, gathered information from 61,729 heart failure-related deaths that occurred in America from 1999 to 2019.

They then adjusted data based on age, so older populations that are naturally at more risk of these types of conditions were not weighing down the data.

Mississippi was found to be the far and away leader, and issue experts have warned about for years.

Issues related to heart failure like obesity and high blood pressure are already more prevalent in the south than they are in other regions of America.

People who suffer from these chronic issues in the Magnolia state are generally worse off too, as it is consistently ranked as having the worst health care system in America. 

It is not just Mississippi, though. Heart issues have struck much of the south in recent decades.

Alabama, which shares its western border with Mississippi, is second in heart failure rate with 5.24 per every 100,000 residents dying from the condition every year.

The ten states that record the highest rate of heart failure

  1. Mississippi (7.98 annual deaths per 100,000 residents)
  2. Alabama (5.24)
  3. Arkansas (4.87) 
  4. Louisiana (4.85)
  5. South Carolina (4.62)
  6. Oklahoma (4.26)
  7. Georgia (3.82)
  8. Kentucky (3.56)
  9. Tennessee (3.46) 
  10. West Virginia (3.46 

The ten states that record the lowest rate of heart failure

  1. Minnesota (1.09 annual deaths per 100,000 residents)
  2. New Hampshire (1.12)
  3. Massachusetts (1.23)
  4. Vermont (1.29)
  5. Connecticut (1.34)
  6. Wisconsin (1.51)
  7. Iowa (1.52)
  8. Maine (1.61)
  9. Maryland (1.63)
  10. 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 said of his state’s situation last year.

Only three other states in America recorded a rate higher than four deaths per 100,000 residents – and all are in the south.

Arkansas and Louisiana – which are along Mississippi’s western border – have the third and fourth highest rates of heart failure mortality at 4.87 and 4.85 deaths per 100,000 residents respectively.

South Carolina is fourth, recording 4.62 deaths per 100,000 residents 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 residents), Kentucky (3.56), Tennessee (3.46) and West Virginia (3.46) are in the area as well.

America’s healthiest hearts seem to be concentrated in the Midwest and Northeastern regions of the country, researchers found.

Southern states that have higher poverty rates are also those that generally have higher rates of heart failure, while wealthier northern states have lower rates

Minnesota is recording the least amount of deaths per 100,000 residents, at only 1.09.

The northeastern cluster of New Hampshire (1.12), Massachusetts (1.23), Vermont (1.29) and Connecticut (1.34) are the next healthiest, followed by a spate 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 linked poverty to worse cardiovascular health. A poorer person is more likely to eat a poor diet and less likely to have regular access to a doctor.

They also may not be able to afford medication necessary to manage their health issues.

A National Institutes of Health report from 2019 also says that many poorer people live more stressful lives than their wealthier peers, which can have a massive impact on their health over time.

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