A woman swimming in an indoor pool | The Christ Hospital Heart and Vascular

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Heart disease prevention 

Once heart and vascular disease begins, it can't be reversed; but if you discover the disease before symptoms start, preventative care can make a difference.

Nearly everyone can take steps to become more heart healthy. At The Christ Hospital Health Network, we not only treat cardiovascular disease, but also work to prevent it.

Know the risks

Remember, heart and vascular diseases are the number one killer of men and women in the U.S. These risk factors make some people more likely to develop a heart and vascular condition:

  • Diabetes

  • Excessive drinking

  • High blood pressure

  • High cholesterol

  • High stress

  • Lack of exercise

  • Obesity

  • Poor nutrition and eating habits

  • Reaching age 65

  • Smoking

Heart and vascular disease can also be hereditary. Tell your doctor if it runs in your family.

Some racial and ethnic groups have higher rates of heart and vascular diseases:

  • African-Americans have a greater risk of developing high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease than Caucasians.

  • American Indians have the fastest growing rates of heart disease of any racial or ethnic group in the U.S.

  • Mexican-Americans, native Hawaiians and some Asian-Americans are at increased risk of heart disease, partly due to higher rates of obesity and diabetes.

Monitor and manage your health

Get regular health screenings. Earlier identification of disease can improve your chances for the best outcome. Importantly, screenings are educational. They allow your health care team to teach you how to manage any condition you may have.

Patients with chronic conditions are more vulnerable to heart and vascular disease. If you suffer from diabetes, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or obesity it's doubly important for you to manage and monitor your health.

The Christ Hospital Health Network offers preventative resources to help you maintain your best health possible.

Health screenings with your doctor may include:

  • Blood pressure and cholesterol levels — High blood pressure and high cholesterol can damage your heart and blood vessels. But without screening for them, you may not know if you have these conditions.

  • Body mass index (BMI) — A measurement for body weight and composition. About two of every three adults are overweight or obese. Obesity puts you at risk for many diseases and conditions.

  • Waist circumference— A man with a waist of more than 40 inches or a woman with a waist of more than 35 inches is considered high-risk for heart disease.

  • Diabetes screening — Depending on your risk factors, such as being overweight or having a family history of diabetes, your doctor may recommend early screening for diabetes.

  • $75​ heart and vascular screening — Take three quick tests to screen for early warning signs of stroke, aneurysm, heart and vascular risk.

Adopt healthy habits

Taking action to control your risk factors can help prevent or delay a serious heart and vascular disease.

You can:

  • Be physically active

  • Follow heart-healthy eating

  • Get enough quality sleep

  • If you smoke, quit

  • Keep your cholesterol levels under control

  • Limit alcohol

  • Maintain a healthy weight

  • Manage diabetes according to your doctor's instructions

  • Manage stress in healthy ways

  • Reduce high blood pressure

  • Take any prescribed medications and follow a healthy lifestyle plan

Join a support group

For patients with ongoing health conditions, The Christ Hospital Health Network offers education and support. We encourage you share your experiences and learn how to live your healthiest life by joining one of our heart and vascular support groups

Stay informed

Be prepared. Know the symptoms and warning signs of a heart attack: 

  • Chest discomfort, such as pain, pressure, squeezing or fullness in the center of your chest, lasting more than a few minutes or going away and then coming back

  • Discomfort elsewhere in the upper body, such as in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach

  • Lightheadedness

  • Nausea

  • Shortness of breath 

Women suffering a heart attack are more likely than men to experience nausea, shortness of breath and back or jaw pain.

Learn more at these educational resources: