Heart Facts 

Cardiovascular diseases rank as America’s #1 killer, claiming the lives of over 33.6% or 1 out of every 3 Americans who died in 2007. It is estimated that approximately 82.6 million American adults have 1 or more types of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). This includes coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, congenital heart defects and other diseases of the circulatory system. The estimated overall cost of CVD in 2010 was $444 billion, which includes direct medical costs and indirect costs due to disability and death. Go to www.millionhearts.hhs.gov  for a national initiative to prevent one million heart attacks by 2017.  

A State Tragedy*

  • Heart disease and stroke are the #1 and #3 causes of death in Arkansas, respectively. 
  • The cardiovascular disease death rate in Arkansas is the 5th highest in the U.S. 
  • High blood pressure is reported by 34.4% of adult Arkansans. 
  • The stroke death rate in Arkansas is the highest in the U.S. 
  • The prevalence of diabetes in Arkansas increased from 7.1% in 2004 to 9.6% in 2010.
  • Arkansas ranks 12th in the nation in obesity (BMI>30) with 30.9% of adults being obese.
  • Of Arkansas children 2-5 years of age, 14.8% are obese and 16.5% were overweight in 2008.
  • Of Arkansas student’s 9th-12th grades, 27.3% describe themselves as overweight in 2009.  Based on height and weight reported, however, 15.7% are overweight and 14.4% are obese. Among 10th graders, actual measurements showed that 20.4% were overweight and another 17.2% were at risk for overweight during the 2007-2008 school year.
  • In 2009, total hospital charges in Arkansas for cardiovascular disease totaled over $2.1 billion dollars.

Heart Attack Warning Signs

Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.

  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath. This feeling often comes along with chest discomfort. But it can occur before the chest discomfort.
  • Other signs. These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or light-headedness

Stroke Warning Signs

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance or coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

If you or someone you are with begins to have any of these signs, don’t delay! Immediately call 9-1-1 or the emergency medical services (EMS) number, so an ambulance can be sent for you.

*Sources: Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics – 2011 Update, American Heart Association, CDC Chronic Disease HDSP – At A Glance 2011, CDC WONDER (AHA ICD-10 codes:I00-I99, Q20-Q28), Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009 (HTN) and 2010 (DM, BMI),  Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009, Arkansas Center for Health Improvement, Year Five Assessment of Childhood and Adolescent Obesity in Arkansas (Fall 2007–Spring 2008), Little Rock, AR: ACHI, September 2008, Hospital Discharge Public Use Data, Department of Health, 2009