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

      

Heart Disease and Stroke 411

Heart disease is usually caused when plaque build ups 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. 

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.    

 

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!

 

Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention and Management

Well-Ahead Louisiana works to enhance the quality of care for all residents with high blood pressure. Our team recognizes that it is vital to standardize hypertension management throughout all health systems. This can be accomplished through increasing awareness of hypertension among patients, implementing quality improvement processes, and integrating team-based care strategies in all health systems.

Physician Resources

Practice Recommendations

Utilizing accepted hypertension treatment protocols has proven to significantly improve hypertension care.

The 7th Joint National Committee (JNC7) has reviewed available evidence on hypertension treatment and developed a set of widely accepted hypertension guidelines. Check them out here: JNC7 Hypertension Treatment Guidelines  

The Million Hearts Initiative has compiled several specific protocols and tools that help clinics effectively put treatment guidelines into practice. Check them out here: Hypertension Treatment Protocols

Team-Based Care

Team-based carefully uses the expertise of every member of the health care team. It is an evidence-based protocol that can help improve blood pressure outcomes. Check out this resource to learn more: Elements Associated with Effective Adoption and Use of a Protocol

Quality Improvement

Quality improvement in health systems is essential to improving blood pressure outcomes in Louisiana.  Check out the resources below to learn more.