Heart attacks

Heart disease is the second-leading cause of death in MN

One of the most serious acute complications of heart disease is a heart attack, or acute myocardial infarction. This occurs when the vessels supplying blood to the heart become blocked. The resulting blood and oxygen shortage causes damage and potential death of heart tissue. About 19% of all deaths in Minnesota in 2017 were due to heart disease, making it the second-leading cause of death in the state behind cancer. 

Heart disease is more common in men than women, and there are racial disparities in rates of heart disease in Minnesota. Between 2013 and 2017, the heart disease death rate was 48% higher for American Indians than for white people.

Lifestyle and habits can affect risk

Some risks for heart disease and heart attack can be reduced through lifestyle changes and clinical care. Modifiable risk factors include:

  • High blood cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Physical inactivity

There are some risk factors for a heart attack that cannot be changed, including age, sex, race/ethnicity, and family history. 

What is being done about heart attacks?

The MDH Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Unit is Minnesota's state-level public health resource for addressing heart disease and stroke prevention. It creates strategic plans to to collaborate and prevent, treat and manage diabetes, heart disease and stroke (see Minnesota cardiovascular health strategic plan). See also Indicator Dashboards Cardiovascular Health.

The MDH Tobacco Prevention and Control Office works to improve the health of Minnesotans by promoting the reduction of tobacco use.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Air Quality Monitoring Program tracks particulate matter and ozone pollution in Minnesota, which are risk factors for heart attacks and deaths. To learn more about air quality and how to stay healthy, visit MPCA's air quality and health.

The MDH Health Economics Program (HEP) studies heart disease data from the MN All Payer Claims Database to understand how heart disease affects health care costs, quality, use, and illness burden in specific locations or populations. HEP provides data to inform state health care policies. For additional data and publications, see all materials using MN APCD data.

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