The Connection Between Heart Disease and Stroke

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Are you leading with your brain or your heart?

These two organs collaborate to meet any challenge that lies ahead. Both the heart and brain affect every aspect of your health: from how strong your body is to how well your mind processes information and the connections you make with your loved ones.

The heart and brain also have another important connection: they share risk factors.

Understanding Your Heart Disease and Stroke Risk

Each year, about 750,000 people die from heart disease or stroke. Heart disease is the number one cause of death for men and women in the U.S.; stroke is the third most common. These conditions both block blood vessels and can cause tissue damage. A major difference, however, is that heart disease usually develops over time and has distinct warning signs, while stroke happens suddenly and usually without warning.

“Heart disease and stroke share similar risk factors,” said Destiny Howe, nurse manager of AdventHealth Gordon’s Cardiac Catheterization Lab. “Unfortunately, having heart disease puts you at higher risk for stroke; and having a stroke puts you at higher risk for heart disease.”

Take control of your health with a better understanding of your risk factors, including:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • Low HDL (good) cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Smoking

Reduce Your Risk for Heart Disease and Stroke

It’s estimated that 49 percent of adults have at least one major risk factor. Protect your health with a few lifestyle changes that promote your health and vitality:

“Reducing your risk factors for heart disease and stroke is something everyone should take seriously,” said Howe. “It will lead to great improvements in your quality of life and your whole health.”

Improve Your Heart and Vascular Health

To learn more about how we work to improve your heart health, visit

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