A top priority for our department is to develop prevention programs, services and public education campaigns that help Arizona families make choices that will improve their health and wellness. A major focus of many of our initiatives is preventing heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both women and men in the United States. While heart disease can be hereditary, there are several factors that can lower your risk for heart disease, including a healthy diet, regular physical activity and quitting smoking.

Hypertension, more commonly referred to as blood pressure, also increases the risk for a heart attack and stroke . Nearly 30 percent of Arizona residents reported being diagnosed with hypertension, according to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. According to the American Heart Association, the risk factors for hypertension can include includes hereditary and physical risk factors such as family history, age and gender. For example, if your parents or other close blood relatives have high blood pressure, there’s an increased chance that you are at risk.

Other risk factors are related to lifestyle choices, such as diet, physical activity level, and tobacco and alcohol use. We have several programs that can help you improve your overall health if you’re at an increased risk for hypertension and heart disease. Our Arizona Nutrition Network provides free recipes and tips for creating health meals for your family that includes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free dairy foods. The program also promotes physical activity for your entire family.

The Arizona Smokers’ Helpline, also known and the ASHLine, provides individualized coaching and up to four weeks of free nicotine replacement therapy for anyone in Arizona who wants to quit smoking. The ASHLine can be reached at 1-800-55-66-222. Our Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program is working to lower the number of people in Arizona affected by heart disease and stroke by coordinating collaborative efforts of partners statewide. Our Arizona SHARE Program offers online training resources for hands-only CPR, which is a lifesaving technique that can increase survival rates of people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest.

If you are at an increased risk for hypertension and heart disease because of hereditary or lifestyle factors, talk to your healthcare provider about what you can do to reduce your risk. There are medications that can control hypertension, and changes to your diet and physical activity level that can lower your risk for heart disease. You can also use the Check Change and Control Tracker, a free online tool used to monitor blood pressure and other heart healthy factors. You can register with your name and email using campaign code LYHAZ, which stands for Love Your Heart Arizona.