If you require emergency medical attention, please call 911 to access your local emergency services.

Overview

Risk Reduction for Heart and Vascular Disease

Risk factors for cardiovascular disease are habits, traits or conditions that may increase a person's chance of developing atherosclerosis, a major cause of stroke, heart and vascular disease.

Atherosclerosis is a slow process in which deposits of fat, cholesterol and calcium build up inside your arteries. Atherosclerosis cannot be cured. However, research shows that modifying your risk factors can prolong and improve the quality of your life. The key is to know your risk factors and to modify them. Talk with your healthcare providers to find ways to achieve this goal.

Risk factors for cardiac or vascular disease that CANNOT be changed 

  • Family history of the onset of disease
    • Men: 55 years of age or younger
    • Women: 65 years of age or younger
  • Gender
    • Male
    • Post-menopausal female
  • The aging process

Risk factors that CAN be modified 

Reducing your risk also means knowing the warning signs for heart attack and stroke.

Heart attack warning signs

  • Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest lasting more than a few minutes
  • Pain spreading to the shoulders, neck or arms
  • Chest discomfort with lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath

Stroke or mini-stroke (transient ischemic attack)

  • Sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg on one side of the body
  • Sudden dimness or loss of vision, particularly in one eye
  • Loss of speech, or trouble talking or understanding speech
  • Sudden, severe headaches with no apparent cause
  • Unexplained dizziness, unsteadiness or sudden falls, especially along with any of the previous symptoms

Heart attack and stroke are medical emergencies

Not all of these signs occur in every attack. If you notice one or more of the signs, do not wait. Call 911 and get medical help right away.

Six niche centers within Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, please call 312.NM.HEART (664.3278).

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
For information regarding cardiovascular clinical trials:

Referring Physicians
Open communication and cooperation with referring physicians is a critical component of achieving high-quality care and minimizing the challenges that come with treating cardiovascular conditions. For physician-to-physician consultation regarding the best patient care, please contact Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at 312.NM.HEART (664.3278).


Six niche centers within Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital, please call 847.53.HEART (534.3278).

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
For information regarding cardiovascular clinical trials:


Six niche centers within Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital or Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital, please call 630.232.0280

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
For information regarding cardiovascular clinical trials:


Six niche centers within Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Medicine Central Kishwaukee Hospital, please call 815.748.5844

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
For information regarding cardiovascular clinical trials:
Clinical trials conducted at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital: visit Clinical Trials Unit of Northwestern, send an email or call 312.926.4000.

Clinical trials conducted at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital, Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital and Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital: visit Northwestern Medicine Office of Research  or call 630.933.6528.


Related Resources

Risk Reduction for Heart and Vascular Disease English | Spanish