Heart Disease and Stroke

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries that carry blood from your heart to other parts of your body. Blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day, but it can damage your heart and cause health problems if it stays high for a long time.  Having high blood pressure puts you at risk for Heart Disease and Stroke, which are leading causes of death in the United States. Heart disease is the Number 1 leading cause of death in Louisiana. Stroke is the Number 5 killer Louisiana. Visit our Community Resource Guide to find a local screening center near you!

Heart Disease and Stroke In LOUISIANA

  • About 85 million American adults (32%) have high blood pressure — that’s 1 in every 3 adults.
  • About 1 in 3 American adults has prehypertension — blood pressure numbers that are higher than normal — but not yet in the high blood pressure range.
  • Only about half (54%) of people with high blood pressure have their condition under control.
  • High blood pressure was a primary or contributing cause of death for more than 410,000 Americans in 2014 — that's more than 1,100 deaths each day.
  • High blood pressure costs the nation $46 billion each year. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications to treat high blood pressure, and missed days of work.

Heart Disease and Stroke 411

Hypertension is the single most important risk factor for stroke because it's the No. 1 cause of stroke. Hypertension adds to your heart's workload and damages your arteries and organs over time. Compared to people whose blood pressure is normal, people with hypertension are more likely to have a stroke.



Hypertension: What Is It?

Hypertension also referred to as high blood pressure means that the force of the blood pushing against the sides of an individuals arteries is consistently in the high range. This can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure or kidney failure.

A blood pressure reading of less than 120 over 80 is considered normal for adults. A blood pressure reading equal to or higher than 140 over 90 is high. Blood pressure between 120-139/80-89 is considered "prehypertension" and requires lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of stroke.

Living with High Blood Pressure

Anyone can develop hypertension; however certain risk factors such as: age, race or ethnicity, being overweight, gender, lifestyle habits, and a family history of high blood pressure can increase your risk for developing hypertension. 

Healthy lifestyle modifications, proper use of medications, and regular medical care can prevent hypertension or its complications.

Lifestyle modifications include things that an individual can do on their own such as:




Hold the Salt!

Blood Pressure and Sodium

We all need some salt, also known as sodium, to keep our bodies working. But how much salt is healthy?
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.

Salt and High Blood Pressure

Too much salt raises blood pressure. High blood pressure puts you at risk for heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke. Heart disease and stroke are the first and third leading causes of death. Eating less salt and lowering your blood pressure can also prevent high blood pressure later in life,
even if you don’t have high blood pressure now.

Watch Salt Matters: Preventing Choice, Protecting Health to learn how to make healthy food choices while lowering salt intake.



Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention and Management

Well-Ahead Louisiana works to increase awareness and enhance the quality of care for all patients with hypertension. Our team recognizes that it is vital to standardize hypertension management within all health systems. Such efforts may be accomplished through increasing awareness of hypertension among patients, implementation of quality improvement processes, and through the integration of team-based care strategies in health systems.

Physician Resources

Continuing Education

Provider education via webinars and conferences

***Webinar series forthcoming

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.


The Million Hearts Initiative has compiled several specific protocols and tools for developing effective protocol to help clinics put treatment guidelines into practice.


Team-Based Care

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Quality Improvement

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