The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) wants residents to know they can take control of their heart health by keeping a check on risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking.
Heart disease was Wyoming’s leading cause of death in 2018 and 2019 according to the most recently available Wyoming Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data.
According to BRFSS data, 78.3 percent of Wyoming adults do not lead a healthy lifestyle, meaning they have a body mass index (BMI) at or above 25, they currently smoke and/or they are not physically active.
“High blood pressure and high cholesterol, two of the most important risk factors for heart disease, typically do not have obvious signs or symptoms,” said Amber Smith, prevention specialist with the WDH Chronic Disease Prevention Program (CDPP). “So the only way to know if you have these conditions is to check both regularly.”
“Regularly monitoring your blood pressure and your cholesterol, with support from your healthcare team, can help lower your risk for heart disease and stroke,” Smith said. “Self-measured blood pressure monitoring (SMBP) at home can be a great option, while medical professionals can help you learn how to manage and improve these conditions.”
Smith suggested people talk with medical professionals about how often to have their blood pressure measured, whether by healthcare providers or for themselves. For cholesterol, doctors may recommend screening more often if a person has a family history of early heart attacks or heart disease.
WDH helps any resident who wants to quit smoking. The WDH Tobacco Prevention and Control Program offers a statewide program with personalized quit plans, coaching support, 24/7 support and tools, free nicotine replacement therapies (patches, gum, lozenges) and free or low-cost medications. Learn more about Wyoming Quit Tobacco by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visiting http://www.quitwyo.org.
Smith noted heart problems are not taking a break during the COVID-19 pandemic.
WDH CDPP encourages all residents to seek emergency care immediately if they experience any signs or symptoms of a heart attack or stroke. Signs of a heart attack may include chest discomfort, discomfort in other areas of the upper body and shortness of breath. Signs of a stroke include facial drooping, arm weakness and speech difficulty.
WDH CDPP works to reduce heart disease through partnerships with Wyoming public health offices, hospitals and community organizations. These partnerships promote the use of SMBP, enhanced cholesterol management and the use of clinical team-based care.
For more details on WDH CDPP activities, contact Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or 307-777-6011. Information about the program is available at https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/prevention/chronicdisease/program-map/. More information about heart attack and stroke symptoms can be found at https://www.heart.org/en/about-us/heart-attack-and-stroke-symptoms.