Heart Disease and Stroke

According to the American Heart Association, in 2015, almost 13,000 Louisiana residents died of heart disease or stroke. Having high blood pressure puts you at high risk for cardiovascular disease.  Managing blood pressure is a lifelong commitment.  By making smart choices, like monitoring your salt intake and enjoying regular physical activity, you can improve your blood pressure outcomes. Well-Ahead Louisiana aims to make living a heart-healthy lifestyle easy and accessible to all residents.  Visit our Community Resource Guide to find a blood pressure screening center near you!

Heart Disease and Stroke In LOUISIANA


As stated by the American Heart Association.  Learn more about Heart Disease and Stroke in Louisiana here. Here is a message from Louisiana's First Lady.

Heart Disease and Stroke 411

Heart disease is usually caused when plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries. This build up narrows the arteries, making it hard for blood to flow through. Sometimes, blood clots form, completely stopping blood flow. This can cause a stroke. 

High blood pressure, or hypertension, increases your heart's workload by quietly damaging your blood vessels and arteries over time. It is the leading cause of stroke.

High Blood Pressure: What Is It?

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls. When your blood pressure is high, it means that this force is stronger than it should be.  Blood pressure is measured with two numbers.  The top number represents the pressure when the heart beats.  The bottom number is the pressure when the heart is resting between beats.  Do you know your numbers? Visit our Community Resource Guide to find a local blood pressure screening center near you!

Source: American Heart Association. 

High Cholesterol: What is it?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance, and your body does need some amount of healthy cholesterol. Your liver makes the cholesterol your body needs. We also get cholesterol when we eat foods that come from animals, such as meat, poultry, and dairy products. This can cause your body to end up with more cholesterol than it needs. 

There are two types of cholesterol: LDL cholesterol, which is bad, and HDL, which is good. Learn more about these here. 

High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease, but it can be controlled through diet, exercise, and other lifestyle modifications. 

Living with High Blood Pressure

Anyone can develop high blood pressure.  However, certain risk factors such as: age, race, ethnicity, being overweight, gender, lifestyle habits, and a family history can increase your risk for developing the condition.  Healthy lifestyle modifications, proper use of medications, and regularly visiting your healthcare provider can help prevent high blood pressure and its complications.

Lifestyle modifications include things that you can do on your own like:

  • Being physically active.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Eating a healthy diet.
  • Not smoking.
  • Limiting alcohol use.
  • Following the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Eating Plan
  • Reducing sodium intake.    


Living with High Cholesterol

Managing your cholesterol is crucial to lowering risk for heart disease and stroke. A healthy lifestyle is the best way to keep your cholesterol levels where they should be, but you also might need medication.

How do you know? Meet with your health care provider to learn your risks and the best option for your personal situation. 

Find tips and tools for managing your cholesterol here, offered by the American Heart Association: 

My Cholesterol Guide

Understanding Your Cholesterol Score

Questions to ask your Doctor about your Cholesterol

Diet Tips to Improve your Cholesterol

Hold the Salt!

We all need some salt, also known as sodium, to keep our bodies working. But how much salt is healthy?  Too much salt raises high blood pressure.  Research finds that 1,500 mg (or about 2/3 tsp) of salt each day is healthy for people who:

• have high blood pressure
• are over 51
• are African-American
• have diabetes
• have chronic kidney disease

For everyone else, 2,300 mg of salt each day or less is healthy. Eating less salt can prevent high blood pressure later in life, even if you don’t have high blood pressure now.

Check out this video to learn how to make healthy, low-sodium food choices!


Blood Pressure Monitoring

Providers can work with patients to montior their blood pressure through self-measured blood pressure programs or community-based blood pressure programs. These programs help patients understand blood pressure readings, ultimately empowering them to achieve blood pressure control. Click here to learn more.