West Virginia

Department of
Health & Human Resources

Health Officials Share Importance of Heart Disease Awareness


Health officials with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) and Thomas Memorial Hospital today reminded residents about the importance of cardiovascular disease during an awareness event hosted by Thomas Memorial Hospital as part of American Heart Month.
“West Virginia leads the nation for the highest prevalence of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks,” said DHHR Cabinet Secretary Karen L. Bowling.  “Today, we joined our public and private partners to underscore the preventive measures that can be taken to turn these statistics around as well as highlight the resources available.  It is my hope that events like these will encourage all West Virginians to adopt a heart healthy lifestyle.” 
The term "heart disease" refers to several types of heart conditions. The most common type in the United States is coronary artery disease, which can cause heart attack, angina, heart failure and arrhythmias. While most of these conditions are preventable, heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women.
“We, at Thomas Memorial, believe that education is key to knowing how to prevent heart disease.  Every month we host free health screenings so you can know your numbers and the steps to take to prevent heart disease,” said Dan Lauffer, COO of Thomas Health System.
“Prevention starts with knowing the risk factors. For heart disease, these include tobacco use, physical inactivity, family history, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity, said Dr. Rahul Gupta, State Health Officer and Commissioner for the Bureau for Public Health.
Dr. Kishore Challa, cardiologist at Thomas Memorial Hospital, recommends the following preventive measures to reduce the risk of heart disease:
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Do not smoke.
  • Limit alcohol use.
DHHR’s Division of Health Promotion and Chronic Disease (HPCD) combats heart disease in West Virginia by putting prevention research to work. HPCD promotes policies that make nutritious, reduced-sodium foods, self-management programs and physical activity opportunities more available in communities, worksites, schools and daycares. To learn more about heart disease and HPCD, visit http://www.dhhr.wv.gov/hpcd, stop by your local health department or call 304-356-4193.

Contact Information

Allison C. Adler, DHHR Director of Communications, allison.c.adler@wv.gov OR Paige Johnson, Thomas Hospital Director Marketing/Public Relations, Paige.Johnson@thomaswv.org