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For Iowans

Section 1: What is Heart Disease?

What is heart disease?

Heart disease is defined as, "any disorder that affects the heart's ability to function normally" (MedlinePlus, 2008). Some of these disorders include: arrhythmias, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, heart attack, and heart failure.

Source: MedlinePlus (2008). Heart Disease: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.

What are the risk factors for heart disease?

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • High Cholesterol
  • Family History
  • Cigarette Smoking
  • Physical Inactivity
  • Overweight/Obesity

Section 2: What is a heart attack?

What is a heart attack?

A heart attack, or myocardial infarction, occurs when the blood supply to a specific part of the heart is blocked and the tissue becomes damaged or begins to die (MedlinePlus, 2008).

Source: MedlinePlus (2008). Heart Disease: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.

What are the warning signs of a heart attack?

The signs may not be as noticeable as in the movies, but symptoms of a heart attack should never be ignored! Common warning signs include:

  • Pain or discomfort in the chest;
  • Upper body (stomach, arms, back, neck, jaw) pain;
  • Shortness of breath;
  • Cold sweat;
  • Nausea; or
  • Light-headedness.

Women are more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms - don't wait - call 9-1-1 within the first five minutes of onset!

Source: National Institutes of Health (2008). Act in Time to Heart Attack Signs.
Source: Make the Call. Don't Miss a Beat. Includes new 2011 campaign materials about women's heart attack warning signs, including a video.

Act Quickly!

If you or someone you know has chest discomfort or a combination of the symptoms listed above - call 9-1-1 right away! Acting fast can save precious heart tissue from damage and could save a life!

Prevention

A healthy lifestyle can reduce a person's risk of developing many chronic conditions during their lifetime - including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers. Live tobacco-free and maintain a healthy weight by becoming physically active and make healthier food choices daily.
Preventive screenings (including blood pressure and blood cholesterol) may help a person to know their risk for developing heart disease and allow them to take action to control these numbers before it is too late.

To learn more about preventing heart disease, visit the Health Resources section located near the bottom of this page.

Section 3: What is a Stroke?

What is a stroke?

A stroke, or "brain attack", occurs when the blood supply to a specific part of the brain is blocked by a clot or the vessel carrying the blood bursts. Without an enough blood reaching the brain, the tissue can become damaged or begin to die.

Source: MedlinePlus (2008). Stroke: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.

What are the symptoms of a stroke?

Stroke symptoms appear suddenly and include:

  • Numbness in the face, arm, or leg (especially on one side);
  • Confusion or trouble speaking and understanding others;
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes;
  • Dizziness, trouble walking, loss of balance or coordination;
  • Severe headache with no known cause.

If a person experiences one or more of these symptoms, they should call 9-1-1 immediately to prevent brain damage or death.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010). About Stroke.

Stroke Heroes Act FAST - Learn the Signs of Stroke

Source: Created by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Prevention Saves Lives

A healthy lifestyle can reduce a person's risk of developing many chronic conditions during their lifetime - including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers.

Live tobacco-free and maintain a healthy weight by becoming physically active and make healthier food choices daily. Preventive screenings (including blood pressure and blood cholesterol) may help a person to know their risk for developing heart disease and allow them to take action to control these numbers before it is too late.

To learn more about preventing heart disease, visit the Health Resources section located near the bottom of this page.

Section 4: Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

What is CPR?

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation or 'CPR' is an emergency procedure that can be used for a person who is no longer breathing or whose heart has stopped beating. CPR can maintain circulation and breathing until emergency medical help arrives.

Source: MedlinePlus (2008). Stroke: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.

Where can I become CPR certified?

To become certified in CPR, you must first take a class to learn and practice all of the needed skills. To find a CPR training in your area, contact your local chapter of the American Red Cross.

Red Cross Map

CPR and the Healthy Kids Act

This law requires every student in Iowa, by the end grade 12, to complete a course that could lead to cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification. This requirement becomes effective for the 2011-2012 graduating class. For more information, visit the Healthy Kids Act website

Section 5: Get Screened - Know your Risk

Blood Pressure Screening

Did you know that high blood pressure has no symptoms? Have your blood pressure checked every two years if your last blood pressure reading was below 120/80 (if last reading was higher than 120/80 you should be screened every year). For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website.

Source: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2007). Screening for High Blood Pressure: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement.

Cholesterol Screening

Did you know that one in six Americans has high cholesterol? Without proper treatment, cholesterol can build up in your arteries and cause heart disease or a stroke. Adults with a normal cholesterol screening are recommended to have their cholesterol screened every five years. If an abnormal, or high cholesterol reading, is found - the patient may be asked to have their cholesterol checked each year. For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website.

Section 6: Health Resources

Alcohol/Drug Use

Blood Cholesterol Levels

Family History

High Blood Pressure

Nutrition/Diet

Obesity

Oral Health

Physical Activity

Tobacco Use

Type II Diabetes

Worksite Wellness

For more information, contact Terry Y. Meek, Project Coordinator, at (515) 281-6016