CDPHP Collaborative News - Spotlight on: Heart Disease and High Blood Pressure - February 2015

Alaska Section of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

CDPHP Collaborative News

Safe and Healthy Me - Eat Well, Move More, Stay Safe, Tobacco Free.

Cardiovascular Health Resources

> State of Alaska Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention Program

> Safe and Healthy Me Preventive Screening Materials

> American Heart Association

> National Stroke Association

> National Heart Lung and Blood Institute

> Take Heart Alaska Website

> Take Heart Alaska Listserv - sign up

> Take Heart Alaska - Facebook

> Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention

> Million Hearts Initiative

> High Blood Pressure - CDC

CDPHP Cardiovascular Health Documents

> Alaska Heart Attack Fact Sheet

> Alaska High Blood Pressure Fact Sheet

> Know Your Numbers Sheet


> Just a Little Heart Attack   In this lighthearted, but poignant video, actress Elizabeth Banks acts out many of the heart attack symptoms that are common in women, but not commonly known. This video is meant to be a wake-up call for busy women who tend to take care of their families and friends, yet ignore their own symptoms.

Take Heart Alaska


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Spotlight on:

Heart Disease and High Blood Pressure

Woman drawing heart in the sand

Ask U.S. women what they think is the leading cause of death and they may say cancer. But the right answer is heart disease – which kills more U.S. women than all forms of cancer combined.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States and is responsible for one of every four deaths. Heart disease is the No. 2 cause of death in Alaska, with cancer causing the most deaths here.

Every year in February, the Section of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion highlights the importance of taking care of our hearts by recognizing February as American Heart Month. National Wear Red Day® — the first Friday each February — is a special day to raise awareness of the danger of heart disease in women. The Section and the Take Heart Alaska coalition encourage everyone to wear red, know their cardiovascular risk and take action to live longer, healthier lives. If you are in Anchorage or Fairbanks, you can also join your community at the American Heart Association Go Red for Women Conference and Luncheons. See “Upcoming Events” below for more details.

Since the early 1960s, annual deaths from cardiovascular diseases have dropped by nearly 1 million per year nationwide — and that’s while the nation’s population has grown by more than 129 million. Alaska mirrors that national trend in declining deaths from heart disease and stroke, but many more deaths could be prevented.

Risk factors for heart disease

Even though deaths are declining, millions of Americans do not know they have risk factors linked to heart disease and stroke, or they are not getting the right treatment. Nationally, less than half of people with high blood pressure have their blood pressure adequately controlled, and only one-third of people with high cholesterol have adequately controlled their cholesterol levels.[1,2]  Millions of people with uncontrolled high blood pressure don’t know they have a health problem (40% of people with high blood pressure or 14 million people), and millions more (45% or 16 million people) are taking blood pressure medicines, but their pressures are still not under control.[3] Improved control of high blood pressure will require an increased focus on blood pressure from health care systems, clinicians, and individuals.[4]  It also will require a focus on diet. Eating too much sodium is a major contributor to high blood pressure and most people consume too much sodium.[5]

Data on cardiovascular disease risk factors in Alaska adults show that:

  • 30% of Alaskans report having high blood pressure
  • 35% of Alaskans report having high cholesterol
  • 23% of Alaskans smoke
  • 39% of Alaska Natives smoke
  • 36% of men ages 25-34 smoke
  • 67% of Alaskans are overweight or obese
  • 20% of Alaskans report being physically inactive
  • 7.8% of Alaskans report having diabetes[6]

Preventing and controlling risk factors for heart disease

While heart disease risk begins to rise in middle age, heart disease develops over time and can start at a young age, even in the teen years. It's never too early, or too late, to take action to prevent and control the risk factors for heart disease.

People can make healthy changes to lower their risks of developing heart disease. Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people who already have heart disease. To lower risk:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation. The American Heart Association recommends limiting your alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks per day for men and no more than one drink per day for women.
  • Get moving and eat healthfully.
  • Manage any medical condition you might have. Learn the ABCS of health. Keep them in mind every day and especially when you talk to your health provider:

    > Appropriate Aspirin Therapy for those who need it
    > Blood Pressure Control
    > Cholesterol Management
    > Smoking Cessation

Partnering to prevent and treat heart disease and stroke  

The Alaska Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program (HDSP) works with several associations, programs, and agencies statewide to improve cardiovascular health.

Take Heart Alaska (THA) Cardiovascular Health Coalition

The Alaska HDSP Program works with the Take Heart Alaska Coalition (THA) to advocate for heart-healthy lifestyles, improved access to preventive and treatment services, and evidence-based practice in the health care community. THA is a partnership of agencies, organizations, and individuals working to promote cardiovascular health, prevent cardiovascular disease and improve cardiovascular care. The membership includes participants from state and local governments, private businesses, the medical community, non-profit organizations, schools, and individual community members.

You can access free resources on the Take Heart Alaska web page or by contacting the HDSP program at 907-465-8670 or


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Vital signs: Awareness and treatment of uncontrolled hypertension among adults-United States, 2003-2010. MMWR 2012;61(35):703-709.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Vital signs: Prevalence, treatment and control of high levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol-United States, 1999-2002 and 2005-2008. MMWR 2011;60(4):109-112.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Vital signs: Awareness and treatment of uncontrolled hypertension among adults-United States, 2003-2010. MMWR 2012;61(35): 703-709.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC). Usual sodium intakes compared with current dietary guidelinesUnited States, 2005-2008. MMWR 2011;60(41):1413-1417.
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey Data. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011.


Key Section Publications

Save the Date - Go Red For Women

National Wear Red Day

  • When: February 6, 2015

2015 Alaska Go Red for Women Conference and Luncheons

American Heart Association sponsored luncheons to raise awareness of heart disease in women.




Save the Date - 2015 Events

Alaska Pharmacists Association (AKPhA) Annual Convention

  • When: February 13-15, 2015
  • Where: Sheraton Anchorage Hotel
  • Learn more>

The Pharmacist and Patient-Centered Diabetes Care Program will take place in conjunction with the AKPhA Annual Convention:

  • When: Friday, February 13, 2015
  • Where: Sheraton Anchorage Hotel 


Parish Nurse Health Ministry Conference

  • When: February 23, 2015
  • Where: Providence Hospital - Anchorage, AK
  • To learn more call:  (907) 212-5053


Alaska Academy of Family Physicians Winter Update

  • When: March 13-15, 2015
  • Where: Hotel Alyeska - Girdwood, AK
  • Learn more>