Do you live in a heart disease hot spot?

Heart disease, which can include several types of medical conditions, is the leading cause of death in the United States. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 610,000 people die of heart disease in the U.S. every year. Heart disease can be congenital or caused by conditions like coronary artery disease, and it can result in heart attacks and heart failure.

In fields like epidemiology and public health, the term “hotspots” has been used to refer to areas of elevated disease emergence or prevalence, as well as areas of high transmission risk. The National Center for Biotechnology Information encourages the use of more precise terms, such as “burden hotspot,” “transmission hotspot,” and “emergence hotspot.”

This distinction is necessary so local and federal public health officials can make decisions regarding intervention and disease control, and so you can decipher available information and make informed choices about your health.

Why are heart disease hotspots important?

The American Heart Association (AHA) conducted a comprehensive study on the current and projected prevalence of heart disease, which includes factors such as gender, race and ethnicity. However, public health officials are becoming more interested in how geographic factors such as recreation, transportation, crime and unemployment affect your health.

Think of these factors as yet another data point to include in your full profile of health to help you understand your health risks, put symptoms in context and plan your best path to well-being.

“In many ways, your ZIP code is more important than your genetic code when it comes to health,” said Jay Butler, chief medical officer and director of public health for the state of Alaska.

The more you know
Do you think you live in a heart disease hotspot? The CDC created an interactive map showing heart disease mortality by state. This data, along with information about heart disease, prevention, and treatment will give you the tools to take control of your cardiovascular health.