Where The Heart Attacks Are - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Anchor Tony McEwing

Where The Heart Attacks Are

Posted: Updated:

I have a number for you that many of you are going to find startling. The number is 700,000. That's the number of people in the U.S. who will suffer a heart attack this year. Actually, more than that. Think about it. More than three-quarters of a million Americans are going to experience cardiac arrest and sadly, many of them will not survive.

Perhaps sadder still is the realization that many of these heart attacks could have been prevented--that a large number of them are lifestyle related. Nowhere is this more clearly illustrated than with the recent publication of the cities in the country that report the highest rates of heart attacks.

Turns out, unsurprisingly enough, the metropolitan areas with the higher rates are populated with people who engage in behavior frequently associated with heart disease, including little or no exercise and smoking. Take a look at the top four regions for 2012 and you'll see that the numbers add up:

1. Huntington-Ashland, W.Va-Ky.-Ohio
    Heart attack rate: 8.9%
    Obesity rate: 37.7% (2nd highest)
    Smoking rate: 30%  (3rd highest)

2. Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, Iowa-Ill.
    Heart attack rate: 6.7% (tied for 2nd highest)
    Obesity rate: 26.3% (82nd highest)
     Smoking rate: 21%  (91st highest)
3.  Fort Smith, Ark.-Okla.
     Heart attack rate: 6.7% (tied for 2nd highest)
     Obesity rate: 28.9% (42nd highest)
     Smoking rate: 25.8% (21st highest)

4.   Utica-Rome, N.Y.
      Heart attack rate: 6.6%
      Obesity rate: 30.1% (29th highest)
      Smoking rate: 26.7% (16th highest)

Although the numbers are very revealing, they do not tell the entire story. Other factors in determining who is likely to have a heart attack and more importantly, who will survive, include low income and the availability of good health care, which often are related. Still, more and more evidence seems to indicate that having a healthy heart probably has as much or more to do with good habits as it does good genes.

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