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Cardiovascular Disease

Materials / Resources


What is Heart Disease?

Heart disease is a term used to talk about types of conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels. Types of heart disease include:

  • coronary heart disease (the most common type of heart disease and the leading cause of heart attacks)
  • heart failure
  • heart arrhythmias (changes in the heart beat)

What is Stroke?

Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries (vessels that carry blood away from the heart) of the brain. A stroke occurs when blood can’t get to the brain because the vessels burst or are clogged.

Risk Factors for Heart Disease and Stroke

Risk factors are traits and habits that could increase the chances of having a disease. There are two types of risk factors: Non-modifiable and Modifiable.

Non-modifiable risk factors are traits we have no control over and cannot change. These types of risk factors include…

  • Age
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Heredity/family history

Modifiable risk factors are things that we can control and change. For heart disease, these include…

  • Having high blood pressure
  • Having high cholesterol
  • Having diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Not exercising

Know the Signs of a Heart Attack

  • Chest discomfort
  • Discomfort in other areas of the body such as back, neck, arms, stomach or jaw
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweats
  • Nausea
  • Lightheadedness

If you experience the warning signs of a heart attack, call 911 immediately!

Know the Signs of a Stroke

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, mainly on one side of the body
  • Sudden trouble speaking, confusion or trouble understanding
  • Sudden dizziness, trouble walking, or loss of coordination
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden severe headaches with no apparent reason

If you experience the warning signs of a stroke, call 911 immediately!

Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke

You can lower your risk for a heart disease and stroke by doing the following:

  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Limit fat intake
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Stay physically active
  • If you smoke, Quit!....Need help?, visit QuitlineNC

Quick Nutrition Tips

  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables – try to eat at least 4 servings of fruit and 5 servings of vegetables every day. Make your plate healthy, colorful, and fun by adding different types of fruits and veggies!
  • Eat small portions of lean meat which includes red meat, poultry, and fish. On a typical day, you should eat two 3-ounce servings of lean meat. A 3-ounce serving of meat is the size of deck of cards.


Heart Disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved August 2015 from

More Information about Cardiovascular Disease and Risk Factors

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