Heart Health


The term "heart disease" refers to any condition that affects the blood flow to the heart.

​Some examples of heart diseases include:

The public health impact of heart disease and stroke is significant, both in terms of disease burden and financial burden. Heart disease and stroke are the number one and number three causes of death in Maryland respectively. Coronary heart disease and stroke have high prevalence, and result in high rates of hospitalization and mortality. According to the Maryland Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), in 2020 3.6% of Maryland adults had a diagnosis of angina or coronary heart disease, 3.4% of Maryland adults have experienced a heart attack (myocardial infarction) at some point in their life, and 2.8% have experienced a stroke at some point in their life. 

Certain health conditions, lifestyle, age and family history can increase the risk for heart disease. These are called risk factors. Key risk factors for heart disease include:

  • High blood pressure

  • High cholesterol

  • Smoking

  • Diabetes

  • Overweight/Obesity

It is estimated that Maryland residents reporting these risk factors are also more likely to report having coronary heart disease.​​​

Improving your heart health starts with these small steps​

Move More (Exercise)

  • ​When you move your body, you protect your heart

  • The weekly physical activity recommendation for adults is at least 2 hours and 30 minutes

  • ​Walking, which is the official state exercise, is a great way to start moving more​

​​Care for your Mind (Cognitive Health)

  • Growing evidence suggests a close link between heart and brain health

  • Eating healthier and increasing your physical activity protects your heart and brain

  • ​Controlling blood pressure may reduce the risk of brain health (known as cognitive health) decline such as memory loss or confusion, and acquiring dementia or related diseases​​

Control Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

  • Keeping your blood pressure in a healthy range protects your heart and your entire body

  • If you have high blood pressure, take your blood pressure medicine on schedule every day

  • ​Manage your blood pressure by moving more, reducing salt intake and reducing stress. 

Manage Blood Sugar

  • Diabetes nearly doubles your risk for heart disease; protect your heart by getting tested for type 2 diabetes to understand your risk

  • If you have diabetes, take your insulin or other diabetes medicines on schedule every day

  • ​Physical activity can lower your blood sugar right away

Work with your Provider​​​​

  • Working with a doctor and other medical professionals can help you get your heart health on track

  • A health care professional can check your blood pressure and blood sugar and keep track of your numbers over time; This helps catch problems early before it causes a heart attack or stroke

  • ​See a medical professional on a regular basis for optimal health