Heart disease is a significant health concern in the United States, responsible for approximately one out of every four deaths. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the prevalence of heart disease varies widely across the nation, influenced by factors like age, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and environmental conditions.
To provide a more detailed picture of this health issue, the CDC has developed an interactive atlas focused on heart disease and stroke. This tool enables users to explore county-level maps, including data on heart disease and stroke rates among different racial and ethnic groups. Using this resource, we can pinpoint the Texas city with the highest heart disease rate within the state.
The Highest Heart Disease Rate in Texas
According to the CDC atlas, Cameron County, located in the southernmost part of Texas, bordering Mexico, reports the highest heart disease rate in the state. This county has a population of around 423,000 people, with its largest city being Brownsville.
The data from the CDC atlas reveals that Cameron County’s heart disease death rate for the period of 2017-2019 is 233.9 per 100,000 population. This rate is notably higher than the state average of 165.5 per 100,000 population and the national average of 165.0 per 100,000 population for the same timeframe.
Cameron County’s heart disease death rate also surpasses that of any other county in Texas and neighboring states such as New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana.
The Factors Behind the High Heart Disease Rate
Various factors contribute to the elevated heart disease rate in Cameron County and Brownsville, including:
- Demographics: Cameron County has a predominantly Hispanic population, comprising approximately 89% of its residents. Hispanics are more likely to exhibit risk factors for heart disease, such as obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure, compared to non-Hispanic whites, according to the CDC.
- Socioeconomic Status: Cameron County is among the poorest counties in Texas, with a median household income of $38,706 and a poverty rate of 29.6%. Low-income individuals often face limited access to healthcare, healthy food, opportunities for physical activity, and resources that can prevent or manage heart disease, as noted by the CDC.
- Environmental Conditions: Situated in a region characterized by high temperatures and humidity throughout the year, Cameron County residents are exposed to extreme heat. This, in turn, increases the risk of heat-related illnesses and fatalities, particularly for individuals with preexisting heart disease or other chronic conditions, as highlighted by the CDC.
The Ways to Reduce the Heart Disease Rate
Addressing the high heart disease rate in Cameron County and Brownsville is a pressing public health issue that requires immediate action. Various stakeholders, including individuals, communities, and healthcare providers, can collaborate to reduce the heart disease rate and enhance residents’ quality of life. Some effective strategies include:
- Promoting Healthy Behaviors: Individuals can mitigate their risk of heart disease by adopting healthy habits, such as quitting smoking, maintaining a balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity, managing stress, and adhering to prescribed medications.
- Enhancing Healthcare Access: Communities can enhance healthcare accessibility for low-income and uninsured residents by expanding Medicaid coverage, supporting community health centers, increasing transportation options, and offering outreach and education programs.
- Implementing Evidence-Based Interventions: Healthcare providers can employ evidence-based interventions that have been proven to prevent or treat heart disease, including blood pressure control, cholesterol management, cardiac rehabilitation, and aspirin therapy.
Heart disease is a leading cause of mortality in the United States, impacting different regions to varying degrees. Cameron County and Brownsville have been identified as areas with the highest heart disease rate in Texas according to the CDC atlas. This elevated rate is likely attributed to a combination of demographic, socioeconomic, and environmental factors that heighten the risk of heart disease among the local population.
Nevertheless, there are numerous actions that individuals, communities, and healthcare providers can take to reduce the heart disease rate and enhance the well-being of residents. By taking proactive measures, we can positively influence the future of Cameron County and Brownsville.