Heart Disease & Stroke

According to the American Heart Association, CVD is a disease of the heart and blood vessels which includes many problems related to a process called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a condition that develops when a substance called plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries, thus causing a heart attack or stroke. In 2013, there were approximately 1,600 deaths due to heart disease in Baltimore.  Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death and stroke is the No. 3 cause of death in Baltimore City. 

BCHD released a report -- Healthy Baltimore 2015 -- that summarized 55 neighborhood health profiles and identified CVD as a leading cause of death, with a 20-year life-expectancy gap between high-income and low-income neighborhoods.

Several initiatives help to reduce cardiovascular disease and health inequities in the City:

Million Hearts Initiative: Million Hearts' goal is to improve the detection, prevention, and control of hypertension and diabetes in Baltimore City. Million Hearts teams up with community organizations and federally qualified health centers to help identify high-risk patients and refer them to community-based programs for disease self-managing assistance. The health centers will assist patients in disease education, provide free blood pressure monitors, and complete weekly follow-ups to help monitor their progression. Million Hearts also provides multiple blood pressure screening sites in West Baltimore to detect undiagnosed hypertensive residents; provide free follow-up screening; and, refer uninsured high-risk persons to a health care provider. 

Patients will have the opportunity to register with the American Heart Association's Heart360 Check. Change. Control. Program. Heart360 is an easy-to-use tool that helps patients understand and track the factors that affect heart health, including blood pressure, physical activity, cholesterol, glucose, weight, and medications. Patients will be able to register while at their doctor's appointment and the clinic staff will assist in creating their profiles. Patients have full access to the system to update their health information via phone, text, or the internet. 

For more information about the program please call 410-396-9931 

Salt Intake Reduction:  

Hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and stroke are mainly the result of a Western diet and lifestyle.  Why?  : Because 80% of the salt (sodium) contained in processed, packaged, and convenience foods are added by the food producers.  

GOOD to know:

  • The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults eat no more than 2300 mg (one teaspoon) of salt per day
  • When sodium intake is reduced, blood pressure decreases within a week's time
  • The food industry uses sodium to enhance flavor, preserve foods, and retain moisture 
  • Hidden salt is contained in: cold cuts and cured meats, bread, frozen meals, cereal, and canned vegetables.

TO DO recommendations:

  • Read the 'nutrition facts' label before you purchase a food item
  • Choose foods that contain less than 20% (460 mg) of the daily value
  • Avoid high-salt condiments: soy and barbecue sauces, salad dressing, ketchup, and mustard
  • To add flavor, cook with herbs, spices, citrus, garlic, and onions.

GET more information:

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Smoking Cessation and Tobacco Control:  Outreach, education, and cessation services are designed to reduce tobacco use because this is the most important preventable risk factor, according to the U.S. Surgeon General.  Tobacco use is highly correlated with respiratory illness and shortens longevity in those with cardiovascular disease and cancer.  

1-800-QUIT NOW is a FREE service for Marylanders 13 years and older and sponsored by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.  The Quitline can help you quit any kind of tobacco use – cigarettes, cigars, or smokeless and you can talk to a live Quit Coach 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Counseling is provided in English, Spanish or other languages.

Callers are eligible to receive 12 weeks of FREE nicotine replacement therapy, such as patches and gum.  Additionally, there are special incentives for pregnant women who call.  


More resources on tobacco.

Cardiovascular Disease Task Force:  The task force is comprised of representatives from local area hospitals, FQHCs, community organizations, researchers and academics, health providers, non-profits, and faith-based organizations.  It meets regularly to identify priorities and collaborate across member groups to promote heart health in Baltimore City.

For more information on these initiatives, please call 410-396-9931.

Healthy Men: To help address the alarming rate of cardiovascular disease in men, the Baltimore City Health Department has funded the University of Maryland Medical Center’s (UMMC) Healthy Men program. UMMC has partnered with Union Baptist Church, American Heart Association’s Simple Cooking with Heart Kitchen, the Center for Urban Families, Chase Brexton Health Care, and others to help identify, treat, refer, and educate men on hypertension prevention and disease management. To help encourage patients to monitor their blood pressure, Healthy Men provides every patient with their own blood pressure monitors. The program also has a full-time community health worker on-site to help link patients to community resources and aid in any personal situations that may be influencing their health.

Healthy Men

For more information about the program, please call 1-800-492-5538 or e-mail healthypressure@umm.edu.

In Our Community:

Baltimore City Health Department works with a number of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) that provide medical services at free or discounted prices for patients with or without insurance. Click the link below to get a list of FQHCs in the city. 

PDF icon In Our Community.pdf

There are a number of programs throughout Baltimore City that are intended to support patients with diabetes and hypertension. For a list of those programs and support groups click the link below. 

PDF icon Support Groups and Programs for Diabetes and Hypertension.pdf

Community Resources

Baltimore has a number of resources specific to the older adult population that act as prevention tools for cardiovascular and diabetes management and prevention.

  • Fitness centers
  • Health education classes
  • Medicaid waivers
  • Pharmacies offering home delivery
  • Meal preparation
  • Recreation and leisure activities

For information on community resources in Baltimore City for older adults, caregivers, and persons with disabilities please visit the following link: BCHD Community Resources 2014

File(s) available on this page for download requires special software to view. If you do not have that software, you can obtain it from the following source(s):

Portable Document Format (PDF): https://get.adobe.com/reader/
Word (DOC/DOCX): https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=4