You are the most important member on your healthcare team

Many factors beyond your control can contribute to cardiovascular disease, such as your age, sex, or family history. But there are also cardiovascular disease risk factors that you can control, such as tobacco use, high cholesterol and blood pressure, diet, obesity, exercise levels, and diabetes.

We have assembled a diverse and accomplished team of medical professionals who take a collaborative approach to diagnosing your cardiovascular condition and treating it. Even with this team of heart and vascular experts, you are the most important member on your healthcare team, because you can take so many steps to improve your heart health. We created these living healthy pages to provide resources to help you understand how your lifestyle affects heart disease and how you can make the changes necessary to live a healthier life.

Keep track of your numbers and see your doctor if any of your results are out of the normal range

If you don't know your numbers, you may ask your doctor to determine your results. Your doctor may advise you to be screened for heart disease. You may also request a cardiac risk evaluation by calling Baylor Scott & White Heart and Vascular Hospital.

Cardiac events and cardiac procedures can affect you emotionally

Our educational, heart-healthy programs can help you cope with your heart disease and learn about your heart condition, so you can adopt healthy lifestyle habits.

Find a program

Understanding the basics of heart and vascular disease


Calcium scores

Cardiac calcium score scans are non-invasive tests used to check for the buildup of cholesterol and hardened, or calcified, plaque on the walls of the arteries in the heart. These tests can detect heart disease before any symptoms occur, as well as determine the severity of any pre-existing heart disease.

Learn more about calcium scores

Heart and vascular disease

Some risk factors for heart disease can't be controlled: age, gender or family history. Other risk factors can be controlled, such as high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, physical activity or being overweight.

Learn more about heart and vascular disease

Heart failure

Many conditions can cause heart failure, including coronary artery disease, past heart attack, high blood pressure or heart valve disease.

Learn more about heart failure

Women and heart disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women, even ahead of breast cancer. About one out of seven women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, but one of every two women will die of heart disease. Despite this, many people do not understand how heart disease affects women.

Learn more about women and heart disease

You can make the changes necessary to live a healthier life

  • Exercise

    Less than 60% of Americans are not regularly active, and 25% report they are not active at all. Yet exercise may be the most important factor to consider in the promotion of cardiovascular health.

    Learn more about exercise

  • The heart healthy diet

    A diet that is heart-healthy is low in saturated fat and cholesterol. By learning to read food labels, you can determine the amount of sodium, sugar or cholesterol in a product and make healthier food choices.

    Learn more about diet

  • Smoking cessation

    When you quit smoking, you improve your overall health. Smoking cessation reduces your risk of cancer, lung disease, heart disease, stroke, emphysema and other smoking-related diseases.

    Learn more about smoking cessation

Ways to reduce your risk for heart and vascular disease

Learn more about how to managing these areas of your health: