Heart Disease and Stroke Awareness and Prevention (Youmasu J. Siewe, PhD, MPH)

The good old days have come and gone when health was considered the sole responsibility of the medical practitioner, family doctor, or some other ―healing-authority‖, and hardly ever the responsibility of the individual. All that was needed in those days to assign an individual with a clean bill of health was a visit to the doctor or a healing authority. Health as we understand it today has a much broader view and requires more responsibilities from the individual and less reliance on healing professionals. The communicable diseases of the past that killed people during major epidemics, from which few people ever survived, have almost been completely eradicated. Those communicable and killer diseases of the past have been replaced today by non-communicable, lifestyle related, but still killer diseases, led by cardiovascular or diseases of the heart and blood vessels.

Among the diseases feared the world over are those involving the heart and blood vessels, also called cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Heart or coronary artery disease is a form of CVD that accounts for more deaths in the United States than cancer, unintentional injuries, and other diseases combined. The ever expanding presence of public/community health educators and other allied health professionals in schools and other community entities and their proximity with grass-root citizens is very important in promoting health and preventing disease. These primary or front-line professionals continue to play an invaluable role in educating the public about reducing the risk factors of heart and other diseases, eliminating related disparities, and improving the quality of lives for Americans. Knowledge of the etiology and risk factors of heart disease is crucial in empowering allied health professionals to form partnerships with other community entities in reducing the risk factors of heart disease among Americans.

The material in this booklet was developed with special consideration for a variety of community and school health professionals who may not have extensive training in public health but feel challenged to join the Healthy People 2020 partnership to reduce the risk of heart disease at the community level. In a user-friendly format this booklet provides basic information about heart disease prevention and stroke awareness. It is divided into four modules.

This booklet provides information about the heart, cardiovascular system and cardiovascular diseases which are the leading cause of death in America. The circulation of blood through the body is discussed as well as identification of controllable and uncontrollable risk factors associated with the heart diseases. Major forms of heart diseases, steps that can be taken to lower their risk and different forms of treatment are discussed. In addition, suggested activities that allied health professionals and trained volunteers can use at community groups are discussed.

Download the booklet here (PDF)