Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Health

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, resulting in about one in every four deaths. Every minute, someone in the United States dies from a heart disease-related event. The most common form of heart disease in the United States is coronary artery disease which limits blood-flow to the heart. A complete blockage of blood results in a heart attack. Ocean County's age-adjusted rate of heart disease deaths is elevated above the rate in both New Jersey and the United States as a whole.

Cerebrovascular diseases, which include strokes, are closely related to heart disease, because they also typically stem from problems with blood flow. In 2019, Ocean County's age-adjusted rate of cerebrovascular disease mortality was lower than both New Jersey and the United States.

Certain populations are more at risk of contracting heart disease. This includes people with abnormal heartbeats or heart defects, high body mass indexes, or diabetes. In addition, negative lifestyle choices can increase risk of heart disease including poor diet, smoking, and excessive drinking.

While heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States, since 1999 the rate of deaths by heart disease has decreased. Factors related to this decline may include a concurrent decline in tobacco use, along with major advances in medical technology and treatment. Despite the decline, in recent years the trend has flattened.  

Demographics of Heart and Cerebrovascular Disease Mortality

By Age 

Heart disease is a chronic condition, and deaths from heart disease disproportionately affect the elderly. In Ocean County, as well as in New Jersey and the United States as a whole, the age group most affected by far are people 85 years and older. 

By Gender

While heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, men die at higher rates from heart disease than women. Cerebrovascular disease mortality trends are similar for males and females, with males having a slightly elevated rates. 

By Race and Ethnicity

Nationally, heart disease is the leading cause of death for whites and African Americans. For American Indians/Alaska Natives and Asians/Pacific Islanders, heart disease is the second leading cause of death, after cancer. (Source)

Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Disease Prevalence in New Jersey

The CDC collects state-level cardiovascular and cerebrovascular with its Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), conducted annually. The following chart shows prevalence of heart attack, stroke, and angina/coronary heart disease in New Jersey, broken down by various demographics and other characteristics. 

Use the filter menu to select a set of characteristics to compare for New Jersey, 2018. Data is from the CDC's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. For some indicators, values are unavailable for certain population subsets.

Keys to Heart Health

In 2013, the American Heart Association published a list of 7 key health factors to indicate ideal cardiovascular health and avoid heart disease causes. They include:

• A Blood Pressure below 120/80 mm Hg

• 60+ Minutes/day of Vigorous Physical Activity for children, 75+ minutes for adults

• Healthy Levels of Cholesterol below 170 mg/dl

• Healthy Diet

• Healthy Weight

• Quitting or never starting smoking

• Blood Sugar below 100 mg/dl

This video describes the causes of heart disease. Source: American Heart Association.

About the Data

Mortality data was queried from CDC Wonder, under Underlying Cause of Death. 

Deaths by Diseases of Heart shows data based on the following ICD-10 codes: I00-I02, I05-I09, I11, I13, I20-I25, I26-I28, I30-I51.

Deaths by Cerebrovascular Diseases shows data based on the following ICD-10 codes: I60-I69.

Prevalence Data for New Jersey, on Angina/Coronary Heart Disease, Heart Attack, and Stroke, is from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Respondents were asked whether they had ever been diagnosed with these conditions.