Heart Disease

County-level data and information about the Assessed Health Issue and Social Determinants of Health indicators can be found in the report appendices.

Key Findings

When studying the impacts of heart disease, considered a chronic condition, it is important to include a variety of indicators that measure different facets of the condition. Heart disease, for example, could have positive outcomes associated with appropriate screening or different behavioral and environmental factors, which, addressed individually, can have a positive impact overall. For each heart disease-related indicator measured, the OHC Region underperforms when compared to both state and national averages. 

Heart Disease and Stroke Mortality

Of the eight health issues assessed at the regional level, heart disease causes the highest mortality rate (212.3 deaths per 100,000 residents when adjusted for age). Some communities are more severely impacted than others. For instance, the Springfield Community has a mortality rate of 183.8, which is lowest in the region and better than the state average. In the Branson Community, the heart disease mortality rate is 44% higher, at 264.7. Death rates from stroke are not as high as from heart disease, and the disparity between communities is not as great, but this condition continues to impact the OHC Region. (It is interesting to note that while the Branson Community has both the highest heart disease mortality rate, it conversely has the lowest stroke mortality rate in the Region.) 

Heart Disease Prevalence

Heart disease has long been a leading cause of death at regional, state, and national levels. Chronic diseases, like heart disease and diabetes, are often the result of very complicated and interwoven behavioral and environmental factors that can take decades to modify or impact. Monitoring and screening are important—community members are at increased risk of dying due to heart disease, so being aware of some factors that can contribute to this condition is important, as is regularly monitoring for warning signs that could indicate onset or flares of disease. Heart disease is often progressive4– communities with high rates of coronary heart disease prevalence also have high heart disease mortality rates also have high heart disease mortality rates, as evidenced by trends in the Region, state, and nation. 

Heart Disease Screening

Sometimes the progression of heart disease can be slowed or stopped. Two of the most useful screening measures that could decrease the likelihood of experiencing bad outcomes due to heart disease or stroke involve blood pressure and cholesterol. The prevalence of either high blood pressure or high cholesterol are early warning signs that could warrant lifesaving medical or behavioral intervention. In the OHC Region, more than one in three adults have high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol. 

Heart Disease Risk Factors

Some well-known risk factors related to heart disease could be impacted by behavioral change. For instance, obese individuals are two times more likely to experience heart failure5. Those with overall poor physical health could be experiencing barriers that lead to obesity. Nearly one-third of all adults in the OHC Region are obese and more than one in ten report poor physical health. This continuous cycle of cause and effect, choice and outcome, are why diminishing the presence of chronic disease in a community is complicated and takes time. 

4Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2021). Congestive Heart Failure: Prevention, Treatment and Research. Retrieved from Health: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/congestive-heart-failure-preven tion-treatment-and-research 
5Ndumele, C. E. (2016). Obesity and Subtypes of Incident Cardiovascular Disease. Journal of the American Heart Association