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About Heart Disease

Heart disease refers to several types of heart conditions. The most common type of heart disease in the U.S. is coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease affects blood flow to the heart [1].



Heart Disease Facts

Heart Disease in the U.S

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S.[1]
  • One person dies every 36 second in the U.S. from Cardiovascular disease[2].
  • Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease; about 18.2 million adults (age 20 and older) have coronary heart disease[2]
  • One person has a heart attack every 40 seconds in the United States[2].


Heart Disease Risk Factors

Below are risk factors of heart disease. Other risk factors include family history and age [4]
  • High blood pressure 
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Tobacco use
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Excessive alcohol use






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Symptoms of Heart Disease

hands holding a heart shaped cutout
Because heart disease refers to a number of conditions the symptoms vary. For many the first sign of heart disease is chest discomfort or heart attack. Call 911 if you have symptoms of heart attack or stroke.

Symptoms of Heart Attack [5]

  • Chest discomfort
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body
  • Shortness of breath
  • Other signs: cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness

Symptoms of Stroke [5]

Spot a stroke FAST

  • F=Face Drooping
  • A=Arm Weakness
  • S=Speech Difficulty
  • T=Time to call 911

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is defined as the pressure of blood pushing against the artery walls. Blood pressure is measured using two numbers: systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure measures the pressure in arteries when the heart beats, and diastolic measures the pressure in arteries between heart beats [6].

What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure is also known as hypertension. While your blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day due to your activities, high blood pressure occurs when measurements are consistently above normal (normal is defined by the CDC as less than 120/80 mmHg) [6].


High blood pressure puts you at higher risk for other health problems including heart disease, heart attack and stroke [6]. It also can hurt your heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes [6].



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How you can thrive: Preventing Heart Disease

Prevent and Manage High Blood Pressure

Lifestyle changes are key to preventing and managing high blood pressure.Talk to your provider about your physical activity (you should be getting at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week), a healthy diet, keeping a healthy weight, stress management and not smoking. Simple lifestyle changes can help you thrive!


Talk to your health care provider today about your blood pressure

Use the below worksheets and materials to talk to your provider about your blood pressure. Remember to ask your provider if self-monitored blood pressue is the right fit for you! Many providers have blood pressure equipment that patients can use to monitor their blood pressure at home.  

Use this worksheet for helpful tips about how to talk to your provider 
Use this Blood Pressue log to track your BP!
Take this form with you when you first talk to your provider about your BP
To learn more about you Blood Pressure click here
Learn more about how to monitor your blood pressure at home click here


What is cholesterol?

Blood cholesterol is a fat-like, waxy substance naturally made by your liver. You produced all the blood cholesterol your body needs, which is why it is recommended that you eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible. Blood cholesterol is essential for good health; your body needs it to make hormones and digest fatty foods [7]. 
Dietary cholesterol is found in animal foods like meat, seafood, poultry, eggs and dairy products. Evidence shows that diets that include less dietary cholesterol are associated with reduced risk of cardiovasular disease [7].


Click here to learn more about cholesterol!


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Behaviors that can negatively affect your cholesterol levels include:

  • Unealthy diet
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight or obese [8]

Heredity and cholesterol

Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is an inherited defect in how the body recycles cholesterol. This causes blood cholesterol levels to be very high [9]. If  you have a family history of FH or problems related to high cholesterol get your cholesterol levels checked today. 


Lifestyle Changes

If you have high blood cholesterol, making lifestyle changes is a great first step towards lowering your risk of heart disease. Even small changes to your lifestyle now can help prevent medical issues later in life [8]. If lifestyle changes do not reduce your risk enough, your doctor might prescribe medications to help [8].


High cholesterol in Wyoming

In 2019,  28.1% of adult Wyomingites reported having their cholesterol checked, and were told by a health professional that their cholesterol levels were high [10].


Resources to help you manage your cholesterol

Watch this video to help you manage your high cholesterol!
My Cholesterol Guide (PDF)
How Statins Work (PDF) | Spanish (PDF)
Your Cholesterol Score Explained (PDF) Spanish (PDF)
Cholesterol Questions To Ask Your Doctor (PDF) Spanish (PDF)
What Are Cholesterol-Lowering Medications? (PDF) | Spanish (PDF)
Cholesterol Myths and Facts (PDF) | Spanish (PDF)
How Can I Improve My Cholesterol? (PDF)

Contact Us Today

Wyoming Center on Aging

Dept. 3415, 1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071

307-766-2829 | 307-766-2847 (fax)


1. About heart disease. (2021, January 13). Retrieved February 23, 2021, from
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Underlying Cause of Death, 1999–2018. CDC WONDER Online Database. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2018. Accessed March 12, 2020.
3. Fryar CD, Chen T-C, Li X. Prevalence of uncontrolled risk factors for cardiovascular disease: United States, 1999–2010 pdf icon[PDF-494K]. NCHS data brief, no. 103. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics; 2012. Accessed May 9, 2019.
4. Heart disease facts. (2020, September 08). Retrieved February 23, 2021, from
5. Heart attack and stroke symptoms. (n.d.). Retrieved February 23, 2021, from
6. High blood pressure symptoms and causes. (2020, May 19). Retrieved February 23, 2021, from
7. CDC. (2019, February 6). About High Blood Cholesterol. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
8. Causes of High Cholesterol. (n.d.).
9. Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH). (n.d.).
10. Wyoming Department of Health; CDPP. Fact Sheet. High Cholesterol. 2021.

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