Quit smoking today to reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases

Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease. If you’re a smoker, quit as soon as possible, and if you don’t smoke, don’t start.

It’s time to quit! Within 20 minutes of smoking your last cigarette, your body begins repairing itself. The healing process continues for years:

  • 20 minutes after quitting your heart rate drops.
  • 12 hours after quitting the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
  • 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting your heart attack risk begins to drop and your lung function begins to improve.
  • 1 to 9 months after quitting your coughing and shortness of breath decrease.
  • 1 year after quitting your added risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.
  • 5 years after quitting your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker’s 5-15 years after quitting.
  • 10 years after quitting your lung cancer death rate is about half that of a smoker’s. Your risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas decreases.
  • 15 years after quitting your risk of coronary heart disease is back to that of a nonsmoker’s. Smokers have twice the risk of heart attack as nonsmokers. Smoking doesn’t just, kill; it also leads to long-term disability and dependence on others. Once you stop smoking, your risk for heart attack and stroke declines each year.

Need help quitting smoking? We can help!  Visit the Smoking Cessation Resources webpage to learn more. Call the tobacco quit line to get help 1-800-QUIT NOW ( 1-800-784-8669 & start the process today.

Most risk factors for cardiovascular diseases —specifically high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and obesity—are preventable and controllable. Reducing your risk is as easy as knowing your ABCS.

  • Appropriate Aspirin Therapy
  • Blood Pressure control
  • Cholesterol Management
  • Smoking Cessation

Preventing 1 million heart attacks and strokes requires work from all of us. Be 1 in a Million Hearts™ & take the pledge now! How do you keep your heart healthy? Share your tips and success stories with us!

Get Your Cholesterol Checked

Like high blood pressure, having high cholesterol puts you at risk for heart disease. It also carries no signs or symptoms so often people don’t even know they are at risk.  Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that your body needs. But when you have too much in your blood, it can build up on the walls of your arteries. Over time, cholesterol deposits, called plaque, can narrow your arteries and allow less blood to pass through.This can lead to heart disease and stroke.

Any body-type  can have high cholesterol. Overweight people are more likely to have high cholesterol, but thin people should also have their cholesterol checked regularly. Often people who don’t gain weight easily are less aware of how much saturated and trans fat they eat. Nobody can “eat anything they want” and stay heart healthy. Have your cholesterol checked regularly regardless of your weight, physical activity and diet.

The good news is that there are steps you can take to prevent high cholesterol—or to reduce your levels if they are high.

  • Get a blood test. High cholesterol usually has no signs or symptoms. A simple blood test can check your cholesterol levels. The test is called a lipoprotein profile. It measures several kinds of cholesterol as well as triglycerides. 
  • Eat a healthy diet. Check out this link for cooking for lower cholesterol 
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Join our 10-in 10 challenge to lose 10 lbs in 10 weeks.
  • Exercise regularly. Try to fit in at least 150 minutes total of physical activity each week. Check out a walking trail near your home
  • Don’t smoke. To quit call 1-800-Quit-Now or visit quit smoking
  • Treat high cholesterol. Your doctor may prescribe medications in addition to lifestyle changes. Talk with your doctor about how to reduce your risk for heart disease.

For more information:


Controlling Blood pressure to reduce risks of cardiovascular disease

Blood pressure is the force of blood against your artery walls as it circulates through your body. Blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day, but it can cause health problems if it stays high for a long time. Having high blood pressure raises your risk for heart disease and stroke, which are the leading causes of death in the United States. Some health conditions, as well as lifestyle and genetic factors, can put people at a higher risk for developing high blood pressure. It is important to take steps to lower your blood pressure.

The first step is to know if you have high blood pressure. Your doctor can measure your blood pressure, or you can use the blood pressure machines available at many pharmacy and retail locations. To find free locations visit Lifeclinic or the Heart Check Center lists mall locations by state. The malls participating in Las Vegas are Meadows, Galleria and Boulevard.

Blood pressure is written as two numbers. The first (systolic) number represents the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats. The second (diastolic) number represents the pressure in your vessels when your heart rests between beats. Visit to see blood pressure ranges.

Heart360  is an awesome and convenient  location for you to track and manage your heart health stats in an organized way.

There are things you can do to help control your blood pressure:

  • Eat a healthy diet. Eating healthfully, including lots of fruits and veggies to help keep your blood pressure down. Join the Nutrition Challenge.
  • Avoid sodium by limiting the amount of salt you add to your food. Be aware that many processed foods and restaurant meals are high in sodium.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight can raise your blood pressure. Losing weight can help you lower your blood pressure. 
  • Be physically active. Physical activity can help lower blood pressure. Engage in at least 150 minutes a week of activity. Join the Walk Around NV program
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking injures blood vessels and speeds up the hardening of the arteries. Quitting will lower your risk for heart disease and stroke. To quit smoking
  • Limit alcohol use. Drinking too much alcohol is associated with high blood pressure. If you drink alcohol, you should do so in moderation—no more than one drink per day for women or two drinks per day for men.

Other resources to help control blood pressure:                                                                                               

 Blood Pressure Basics Video: Your Guide to Lowering High Blood Pressure 

Blood Pressure fact sheet


Prevent cardiovascular disease by knowing your ABCS

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in Nevada and across the country. In 2009, heart disease caused the deaths of more than 4,000 Nevadans. To commemorate American Heart Month, the Southern Nevada Health District’s Get Healthy staff is joining the national Million Hearts™ campaign to prevent more than one million heart attacks and strokes in the United States.

Cardiovascular disease is a broad term for all heart diseases that affect the heart or blood vessels. This includes heart attack and stroke as well as conditions such as high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, and aneurysm. Most risk factors for cardiovascular diseases —specifically high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and obesity—are preventable and controllable.

Reducing your risk is as easy as knowing your ABCS.

  • Appropriate Aspirin Therapy
  • Blood Pressure control
  • Cholesterol Management
  • Smoking Cessation

In the coming weeks we are going to blog in more detail about the ABCS to reduce your risk. This week we want to focus on aspirin therapy.

Is Aspirin therapy right for me? You should not start aspirin therapy without first consulting your physician.  The risks and benefits of aspirin therapy vary for each person. Most heart attacks and strokes occur when the blood supply to a part of your heart muscle or brain is blocked. This buildup is called plaque. Plaque that rupture cause blood clots to form that can block blood flow or break off and travel to another part of the body. This is called an embolism.

  • If a blood clot blocks a blood vessel that feeds the heart, it causes a heart attack.
  • If a blood clot blocks a blood vessel that feeds the brain, it causes a stroke.

Aspirin “thins” the blood and helps prevent blood clots from forming. So it helps prevent heart attack and stroke. The best way to know if you’re a candidate for aspirin therapy is to ask your healthcare provider. You should not start taking aspirin on your own.
Warning signs of a heart attack