Mapping Chronic Disease at the County Level and Locating At-Risk Populations

Ronald E. Cossman, Mississippi State University
Jeralynn S. Cossman, Mississippi State University
Wesley James, Mississippi State University
Troy Blanchard, Mississippi State University
Richard Thomas, University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Louis Pol, University of Nebraska, Omaha
Arthur Cosby, Mississippi State University

Chronic diseases account for more than 70% of all deaths and 60% of health care costs in the United States, yet the U.S. does not have a sub-state chronic disease surveillance system. We use prescriptions-filled at the county level as a proxy for the prevalence of chronic illnesses in the resident population. In this poster, we focus on the leading cause of death: heart disease. We tested the correlation between prescription rates and BRFSS “self-reported” rates. They ranged from .614** to .661**. To identify “at-risk” populations, we overlay and map cause-specific mortality rates with disease-specific prescription rates. Counties with high heart disease mortality rates, but relatively low heart disease prescription-fill rates “suggests” that those resident populations could be at higher risk for heart disease due to under-prescription of heart disease medications.

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Presented in Poster Session 5: Health, Mortality, Aging, Biology