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For Iowans

Section 1: What is Heart Disease?

  • What is heart disease?
    Heart disease is defined as, "any disorder that affects the heart's ability to function normally" (MedlinePlus, 2008). Some of these disorders include: arrhythmias, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, heart attack, and heart failure.
  • What are the risk factors for heart disease?
    • High Blood Pressure
    • Diabetes
    • High Cholesterol
    • Family History
    • Cigarette Smoking
    • Physical Inactivity
    • Overweight/Obesity

Section 2: What is a heart attack?

  • What is a heart attack?
    A heart attack, or myocardial infarction, occurs when the blood supply to a specific part of the heart is blocked and the tissue becomes damaged or begins to die (MedlinePlus, 2008).
  • What are the warning signs of a heart attack?
    The signs may not be as noticeable as in the movies, but symptoms of a heart attack should never be ignored! Common warning signs include:
    • Pain or discomfort in the chest;
    • Upper body (stomach, arms, back, neck, jaw) pain;
    • Shortness of breath;
    • Cold sweat;
    • Nausea; or
    • Light-headedness.
  • Women are more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms - don't wait - call 9-1-1 within the first five minutes of onset!
  • Act Quickly!
    If you or someone you know has chest discomfort or a combination of the symptoms listed above - call 9-1-1 right away! Acting fast can save precious heart tissue from damage and could save a life!
  • Prevention
    A healthy lifestyle can reduce a person's risk of developing many chronic conditions during their lifetime - including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers. Live tobacco-free and maintain a healthy weight by becoming physically active and make healthier food choices daily.
    Preventive screenings (including blood pressure and blood cholesterol) may help a person to know their risk for developing heart disease and allow them to take action to control these numbers before it is too late.
  • To learn more about preventing heart disease, visit the Health Resources section located near the bottom of this page.

Section 3: What is a Stroke?

  • What is a stroke?
    A stroke, or "brain attack", occurs when the blood supply to a specific part of the brain is blocked by a clot or the vessel carrying the blood bursts. Without an enough blood reaching the brain, the tissue can become damaged or begin to die.
  • What are the symptoms of a stroke?
    Stroke symptoms appear suddenly and include:
    • Numbness in the face, arm, or leg (especially on one side);
    • Confusion or trouble speaking and understanding others;
    • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes;
    • Dizziness, trouble walking, loss of balance or coordination;
    • Severe headache with no known cause.
  • If a person experiences one or more of these symptoms, they should call 9-1-1 immediately to prevent brain damage or death.
  • Stroke Heroes Act FAST - Learn the Signs of Stroke
  • Prevention Saves Lives
    A healthy lifestyle can reduce a person's risk of developing many chronic conditions during their lifetime - including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers.
  • Live tobacco-free and maintain a healthy weight by becoming physically active and make healthier food choices daily. Preventive screenings (including blood pressure and blood cholesterol) may help a person to know their risk for developing heart disease and allow them to take action to control these numbers before it is too late.
  • To learn more about preventing heart disease, visit the Health Resources section located near the bottom of this page.

Section 4: Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

  • What is CPR?
    Cardiopulmonary resuscitation or 'CPR' is an emergency procedure that can be used for a person who is no longer breathing or whose heart has stopped beating. CPR can maintain circulation and breathing until emergency medical help arrives.
  • Where can I become CPR certified?
    To become certified in CPR, you must first take a class to learn and practice all of the needed skills. To find a CPR training in your area, contact your local chapter of the American Red Cross.

  • CPR and the Healthy Kids Act
    This law requires every student in Iowa, by the end grade 12, to complete a course that could lead to cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification. This requirement becomes effective for the 2011-2012 graduating class. For more information, visit the Healthy Kids Act website

Section 5: Get Screened - Know your Risk

Section 6: Health Resources