Skip to main content

Heart Disease & Stroke

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 2017 there were 25,393 deaths in Illinois due to heart disease and 6,021 deaths due to stroke.  Deaths due heart disease and stroke combined (31,414) represent almost 29 percent of all deaths in Illinois in 2017 (109,726).

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.

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

The Illinois Department of Public Health and its partner agencies and colleagues around the state are making significant progress in raising awareness about heart disease and stroke and helping people to understand 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.