The Cardiovascular Health Program - FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

What is heart disease?

Heart disease is a term that includes several more specific heart conditions. The most common heart disease in the US is coronary artery disease (CAD). CAD occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle become hardened and narrowed due to the buildup of plaque. The narrowing and buildup of plaques is called atherosclerosis. Plaques are a mixture of fatty and other substances including cholesterol and other lipids. Blood flow to the heart is reduced, which reduces oxygen to the heart muscle. This can lead to heart attack. Other heart conditions include angina, heart failure, and arrhythmias. Find out more about heart diseases.

What are symptoms of heart attack?

The National Heart Attack Alert Program notes these major symptoms of a heart attack:

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. This can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath. This often comes along with chest discomfort; but, it also can occur before chest discomfort or with increased activity.
  • Other symptoms may include
    • breaking out in a cold sweat
    • nausea and vomiting
    • lightheaded
    • weakness

What should a bystander do if they think someone is having a heart attack?

If you think that you or someone you know is having a heart attack, you should call 9–1–1 immediately.

Why is there a need to act fast?

Death or permanent disability can result from a heart attack. The risk of death or permanent damage can be reduced with timely treatment. Some newer treatments need to be given soon after the onset of a heart attack in order to be effective. It is important to know the symptoms of a heart attack and act right away.

What are risk factors for heart disease?

Some conditions and lifestyle factors can put people at a higher risk for heart disease. The most important modifiable risk factors for heart disease are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, tobacco use, diabetes, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, and obesity. Individuals can take steps to lower their risk for heart disease. For more information about these risk factors, please see CDC's section on risk factors.

What can you do to reduce your risk?

Persons can take steps to lower their risk of developing heart disease by preventing or treating and controlling high blood pressure, preventing or treating and controlling high blood cholesterol, by not using tobacco, by preventing or controlling diabetes, and by maintaining adequate physical activity, weight, and a healthy diet. Persons being treated for conditions or risk factors should follow the guidance of their health care providers. See the CDC's section on heart disease prevention.

What is the burden of heart disease in Nevada?

Heart disease is the number one leading cause of death in the United States and Nevada. Nevada has a higher percentage of deaths from heart disease than the national average.

What is the cost of heart disease for Nevada?

Cost of Heart Disease & Stroke to the United States

Together, heart disease and stroke are among the most widespread and costly health problems facing the nation today, accounting for more than $312.6 billion* in health care expenditures and lost productivity annually—and these costs are rising. On a personal level, families who experience heart disease or stroke not only have to deal with medical bills but also lost wages and the real potential of a decreased standard of living.

Cost of Heart Disease & Stroke to Nevada

The direct costs associated with chronic disease are total charges incurred by an inpatient for the duration of their stay in a hospital.

  • The cost of heart disease is 44.4% of the total costs or $1.80 billion. These are associated to direct medical expenditures in the State of Nevada. 
  • In Nevada, cancer was the 2nd highest economic burden in terms of direct medical costs at $745 million or 18.3% of the total burden in 2011. 
Direct costs are not the only representation of economic burden that chronic diseases place on Nevada; indirect costs represent the productivity losses due to illness and premature death (Nicholson, 2006). The DeVol, Ross and Bedroussian (2007) study, which is endorsed by CDC and used by the Milken Institute, calculated that productivity losses are approximately four times greater than the direct medical cost of chronic disease. Years of Potential Life Lost (YPLL) for the state of Nevada was calculated for persons under the age of 75 for 2011. Diseases of the heart and malignant neoplasms account for over 64,000 total years lost in Nevada annually.


How is the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health addressing heart disease?

Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health, Heart and Stroke Prevention Program is currently working with community partners to increase awareness around hypertension (High Blood Pressure), and increase treatment and monitoring for the citizens of Nevada.