Tracking Heart Attacks in Vermont

A heart attack occurs when blood flow to part of the heart becomes blocked. Unless the flow of blood is restored quickly, the heart muscle is damaged from lack of oxygen and begins to die. The more time that passes without restoring blood flow, the greater the damage to the heart. A heart attack is also called an acute myocardial infarction (AMI).

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In the U.S., someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds.

In Vermont, heart disease is the second leading cause of death after cancer.

Explore Heart Attack Data

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Your Questions Answered
Is there a link between air quality and heart attacks?

Investigators both in the U.S. and abroad have shown relationships between short- and long-term exposure to air pollution and the increased risk of heart attack and other forms of heart disease. For example, researchers have demonstrated increases in heart attack hospitalization rates in relation to fine particles (PM2.5) found in haze, smoke and dust. This is particularly true for sensitive groups, such as the elderly, patients with pre-existing heart disease, survivors of heart attack, or people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The level of environmental risk for heart attacks depends on several factors:

  • The amount of pollution in the air

  • A person’s exposure to the air pollution

  • Overall health

How do I protect my health from air pollution?
  • Know your sensitivity to air pollution.

  • Know when air pollution may be bad in your area.

  • Plan activities when and where pollution levels are lower, using the air quality index to guide planning.

  • Reduce your activity level during times of higher pollution.

  • Listen to your body.

  • Consult with your health care provider.

  • Have your medication with you.

What heart attack data are included in the Vermont Tracking Portal?

Vermont Tracking provides annual data about hospitalizations for heart attack starting in 2000 and emergency department visits for heart attack starting in 2003. Vermont Tracking also provides data about air quality. Air pollution has been linked to heart disease.

More Information
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Heart Disease in Vermont
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Heart Attack Symptoms, Risk and Recovery (CDC)
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