Illinois Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention
Heart Disease Stroke Health Care Professionals Fact Sheets Contact Us

Diseases of the Heart and Stroke:
Illinois’ Leading Killers

Heart disease and stroke are, respectively, the first and third leading causes of death and also the major causes of disability in Illinois. In 2010, there were 24,868 deaths in Illinois due to heart disease and 5,333 deaths due to stroke. The total number of deaths from all causes during the year was 99,624.

Prevention efforts coupled with effective disease management can reduce the incidence of heart attacks and strokes, cut the number of deaths from these diseases, and relieve some of the disability suffered by heart attack and stroke survivors.

Woman holding plate of vegetables The Illinois Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program focuses The ABC's of Cardiovascular Health:

  • Aspirin therapy
  • Blood pressure control (including sodium reduction)
  • Cholesterol management
  • Smoking cessation

man jogging The Illinois Department of Public Health and its partner agencies and colleagues around the state are making significant progress in helping people to address their risk factors. Successful programs are in place to reduce tobacco use; to increase daily physical activity and consumption of fruits, vegetables and low-fat milk; and to change environmental and policy systems that can have an impact on heart disease and stroke.

In September 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services launched the Million Hearts campaign in support of a national initiative to prevent one million heart attacks by 2017. In September 2013, IDPH held the first Million Hearts stakeholders workshop to engage providers, insurance companies, nursing associations, and many others to raise awareness of the risk factors for cardiovascular disease. From this workshop, two subcommittees were formed to address the ABCS of cardiovascular disease (aspirin therapy, blood pressure control, cholesterol control, and smoking cessation) and to lower the risk factor of uncontrolled high blood pressure, or hypertension.




Warning Signs

Heart Attack

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach
  • Shortness of breath along with, or before, chest discomfort
  • Cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness

For Women

As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.


  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

Call 911if you have any of these symptoms or if you see someone else experiencing these warning signs. Treatment is more effective if given quickly. Every minute counts!

Who is at Risk?

Can I Reduce My Risk?

Heart Disease and Stroke HomeIDPH Home