PORTLAND, Ore. — Those living in Oregon's rural counties face a higher risk of contracting heart disease than their more-urban counterparts.

SLIDESHOW: Where heart disease is most prevalent in Oregon

Even so, the state's most-populous area ranks among the top 10 in terms of cardiovascular disease rates, according to a Portland Business Journal analysis. And while an index created by the PBJ indicates that the state's higher incidences of the condition occur in less-crowded regions, the state does fare well when compared to its national counterparts on three measures.

Specifically, data collected from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Interactive Atlas of Heart Disease and Stroke shows that Oregon counted 367.1 cardiovascular disease-related deaths per 100,000 residents between 2014 and 2016. Nationally, the figure was 426.2 deaths per 100,000 residents. The group studied those aged 35 and older.

The figures for Medicare beneficiaries also cast Oregon in a good light. The state's hospitalization rate for those recipients aged 65 and older, per 1,000 residents, was 128.6, compared to a national 182.3 tally.

And, the percentage of Oregon Medicare beneficiaries discharged after their cardiovascular-related hospitalizations was 65.8 percent, compared to 60.3 percent nationally.

The CDC's data for minorities offers mixed news. For blacks, the death rate in Oregon, between 2014 and 2016, was 413.4 per 100,000 residents as compared to 374.6 for whites. The death rate for Hispanics was 220.9 per 100,000 residents.

Here's how the index was created: The 3-year cardiovascular disease death rate for residents 35 or more years old accounted for half each county’s rank. The other half was divided between 3-year rate of Medicare recipients 65 or more years hospitalized for cardiovascular disease and the percentage of those who were discharged home. The higher the death and hospitalization rate and the lower the discharge to home rate, the worse counties ranked.

Guru Sankar, the managing partner for AFC Urgent Care Portland, said his clinics frequently provide a first-line defense against cardiovascular-related problems.

"Our doctors can detect these issues earlier when such patients come in for other acute issues, like strep throat," Sankar said. "When they show up for heart-disease related issues we have the diagnostic tools, such as Complete Blood Count and EKGs, to detect and direct them to appropriate care quickly. We end up being the 'primary care' for many patients, so we can provide continuing care to help mitigate root causes and effect prevention for such diseases."

The Portland Business Journal is a KGW News partner.