Heart Disease and Stroke

Nancy Gerrard


1. What is the cause of heart disease and stroke?

2. What are the signs of an impending stroke?

3. What can you do to lower your risk of having a heart attack/ stroke?

What is Atherosclerosis?

Atherosclerosis is a medical condition in which plaque builds up in the walls of your arteries. This plaque can build up in the arteries and make it harder for blood to be pumped through. In certain cases this plaque can cause a complete block of blood flow and can lead to having a heart attack or stroke.

A heart attack can occur when blood flow is cut off to the heart. The lack of oxygen to these heart cells causes heart cell damage, and can cause death.

An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot gets stuck in one of the vessels that supplies the brain with oxygen. This can cause brain cell death, which may impair a person from doing things they normally could do like walking and talking.

Atherosclerosis Animation

What is Atherosclerosis?

Incidence of Heart Disease and Stroke

According to Healthy People 2020

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.
  • Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death.
  • Currently more than 1 in 3 adults (85.6 million) live with 1 or more types of cardiovascular disease.

Recognizing a Stroke

The acronym for recognizing a stroke is F.A.S.T.. If you or a loved one believe you are experiencing a stroke it is important to get help as fast as possible. The more time that there is a block in blood flow to the brain, the more brain cell damage can occur.

F- Face- Does one side of the face droop? Ask person to smile.

A- Arms- Is one arm weak or numb? Ask person to lift arms.

S- Speech- Is speech slurred? Ask person to repeat back a simple sentence to you. Do they have trouble repeating it back?

T- Time- If patient reports any of these signs, call 911 or go to the hospital immediately.

Common Heart Attack Warning Signs

Big image

Modifiable Risk Factors Associated with Heart Disease and Stroke

  • -High blood pressure
  • -High cholesterol
  • -Cigarette smoking
  • -Diabetes
  • -Unhealthy diet and physical inactivity
  • -Overweight and obesity
  • What can YOU do to prevent a heart attack/stroke?

    Eat a Healthy Diet

    • Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables

    • There has been research showing a decreased risk of heart attacks in people who ingest more whole grains. This can include choosing rye bread, or choosing oatmeal.

    • Limiting salt and sodium in your diet can lower your blood pressure. To limit sodium, try to stick to fresh food and limit use of processed or canned food.

    • By eating foods with lower cholesterol and saturated fat, you can reduce risk high cholesterol levels which increases plaque formation in your arteries.

    Maintain a Healthy Weight

    • Being overweight/obese can increase the amount of work your heart has to do, and can increase your risk of heart disease.

    • If you are overweight/obese, you can ask your doctor about ways to decrease your weight in a healthy way.

    Exercise Regularly

    • By exercising regularly you can improve heart health. It can help by decreasing cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and can help you lose weight.

    • The Surgeon General recommends adults engage in moderate-intensity exercise for 2 hours and 30 minutes every week.

    Quit Smoking and Limit Alcohol use

    • Smoking greatly increases risks of getting heart disease and so it is important to quit smoking if you already do, or avoid it all together. If you smoke, your health care provider can give you ways to help quit.

    • Limiting alcohol consumption can reduce risks of developing high blood pressure which is a risk factor associated with heart disease.

    How to Prevent Heart Disease | Heart Disease

    Community Resources for YOU

    1. Visit your regular healthcare provider regularly- By going to see your healthcare provider, they can help monitor your numbers and give you options to help you prevent heart disease. It is important to get your numbers checked regularly in order to avoid the progression of heart disease. Numbers that should be monitored include- cholesterol and triglycerides, body mass index (BMI), and blood pressure.

    2. A good way to prevent heart disease and improve heart health is to get regular exercise. The YMCA has a bunch of great programs and activities to make sure you're getting your exercise. It has options for group activities and personal training as well.

    Clermont Family YMCA

    2075 James E. Sauls, Sr. Dr.
    Batavia , Ohio 45103
    Phone 513.724.9622

    3. If you have difficulty in determining which foods are good for heart health, versus which ones are bad, a dietician or nutritionist may be able to help you. HealthProf.com is a great resource which lists different health professionals names, phone numbers, as well as location. Check out some of the dieticians and nutritionists in Cincinnati in the link below.


    1. What is the cause of heart disease and stroke?

    2. What are the signs of an impending stroke?

    3. What can you do to lower your risk of having a heart attack/ stroke?


    Fung, T. T., An, P., Tao, H., Mozaffarian, D., Rexrode, K. M., Willett, W. C., & Hu, F. B. (2016). Food quality score and the risk of coronary artery disease: a prospective analysis in 3 cohorts. American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, 104(1), 65-72. doi:10.3945/ajcn.116.130393.

    Heart Disease and Stroke. Healthy People 2020. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Available from: https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics- objectives/topic/heart-disease-and-stroke

    Helnæs, A., Kyrø, C., Andersen, I., Lacoppidan, S., Overvad, K., Christensen, J., & ... Olsen, A. (2016). Intake of whole grains is associated with lower risk of myocardial infarction: the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health Cohort. American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, 103(4), 999-1007. doi:10.3945/ajcn.115.124271

    Lenzi, J., Rucci, P., Castaldini, I., Protonotari, A., Di Pasquale, G., Di Martino, M., & ... Fantini, M. (2015). Does age modify the relationship between adherence to secondary prevention medications and mortality after acute myocardial infarction? A nested case-control study. European Journal Of Clinical Pharmacology, 71(2), 243-250. doi:10.1007/s00228-014-1793-8