Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Mississippi according to the Department of Health. A recent study also finds the number of women at risk of having heart attacks is on the rise. MPB's Jasmine Ellis reports.
The Mississippi Department of Health says the state's cardiovascular disease mortality rate remains the highest in the nation. Heart disease can lead to several health issues including heart attacks. The risk of heart attacks is on the rise among young women in the U.S. That's according to the scientific journal, Circulation, which studied women between the ages of 35 and 54.
Physicians in Mississippi are seeing an increase in the risk of heart attacks in younger women. Dr. Chris Waterer is with the Baptist Medical Center in Jackson.
"Part of it is, I think, more younger women are smoking than did in the past," said Dr. Waterer. "I think the other big issue is with the generation that is coming up, they're less active physically. And that's leading to obesity, hypertension, and diabetes."
Dr. Waterer says people should look at risk factors that occur in their families. He says although a person can't change their genetics there are other things that they can focus on in order to take care of their heart.
"Look at what you can change weight, exercise, what you eat, cholesterol," said Dr. Waterer. "Then you look at your numbers. Learn your numbers, your blood pressure, your blood sugar, your weight, and cholesterol. And if they need to be treated you treat them."
Health experts say educating children on eating healthier and the importance of physical activity at a younger age can help to improve heart health in Mississippi.