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Program Overview

To achieve health and wellness for Nevadans, by development and promotion of efforts in four directions to prevent chronic disease: surveillance systems, integration of primary prevention and health equity, evidence-based policies and strategies, and strong partnerships.

Chronic Health

Program Topics

About the Program

Chronic diseases are human health conditions that persists for at least one year and require ongoing medical attention or limit activities of daily living or both.  Major chronic diseases include heart disease and stroke, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Worldwide in 2019, 74% of all deaths were caused by chronic diseases,1 a little more than three quarters of chronic disease deaths occurred in low and middle-income countries, which also account for 85% of all early chronic disease-related deaths. In the U.S., 6.6 in 10 adults have a chronic disease, and 4 in 10 have two or more chronic diseases, and account for 64.0% of all deaths in 2019.2 chronic disease account for 67.4% of all deaths.3

Chronic diseases have significant health and economic costs in the U.S. and in Nevada.  Both prevention and appropriate symptom management can reduce these costs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that 90% of the nation’s 4.1 trillion dollars in annual health care expenditures are for people with chronic and mental health conditions.4

Most of the chronic diseases are caused by a common list of high-risk behaviors:

For more information on how you can prevent chronic diseases please click here.


Heart Disease and Stroke

Heart Disease

Hearth disease is a general term for conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels. It is usually associated with build-up of fatty deposits inside the arteries (atherosclerosis) and an increased risk of blood clots. It can also be associated with damage to arteries in organs such as the brain, heart, kidneys and eyes.

Manifestations of heart disease are:

  • Hearth Attack
  • Arrythmia
  • Hearth failure


Stroke or brain attack is a loss of perfusion of high oxygen blood to part of the brain caused by a blocked artery or its rupture. The brain cells die in a few minutes when nutrients and oxygen are not received. This can cause lasting brain damage, long-term disability or even death.

More than 809,0001 Americans died of heart disease, stroke, or other cardiovascular diseases every year (28.3% of all causes).  In Nevada, annual deaths for heart disease and stroke are on average 7,595 (31.2%) of all deaths.2 Heart disease and stroke are the 1st and 5th leading causes of death in the U.S. and Nevada.

Risk factors for heart disease and stroke include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoking
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Excessive alcohol use.

Resources to support prevention include:

For data on heart disease and strokes please click here.



Cancer occurs when certain types of cells grows uncontrollably and form tumors. Cancer can start almost anywhere in the human body and spread into or invade nearby tissues. Cancer cells are abnormal in both function and structure, and they can cause serious symptoms and become life threatening.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in United States accounting for 21% of all deaths.2 In Nevada, cancer is the second leading cause of death that accounts for 21.2%.6 In an effort to reduce the occurrence of cancer, research has found that many cancers are preventable and/or treatable if diagnosed early.

The main high-risk factors for preventable cancers are smoking and secondhand smoke exposures, being overweight or having obesity, drinking too much alcohol, and getting too much ultraviolet radiation from the sun or tanning beds.

In Nevada, the Comprehensive Cancer Control and the Women Health Connection (Breast and Cervical Cancer screening) programs lead the work for surveillance, prevention and early diagnosis of cancers.

For data on cancer please click here.

For information on the cost of cancer please click here.



Diabetes¹ is a chronic medical condition that affects how your body turns food into energy.  Your body breaks down most of the food you eat into sugar (glucose) and releases it into your bloodstream. When your blood sugar goes up, it signals your pancreas to release insulin. Insulin acts like a key to let the blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy.

With diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use it as well as it should. When there isn’t enough insulin or cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar stays in your bloodstream. Over time, that can cause serious health problems, such as heart diseasevision loss, and kidney disease.

There are three main types of diabetes (type 1, type 2, and gestational) along with prediabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes is thought to occur from an autoimmune reaction which stops your body from making insulin. Symptoms develop quickly and is most commonly diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults. Type 1 diabetes accounts for 5-10% of all those diagnosed with diabetes.  It is currently unknown how to prevent type1 diabetes.
  • Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body does not use insulin well and can’t keep blood sugars at a normal level. This is the most common type of diabetes, accounting for 90-95% of all those diagnosed with diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is not reversible and develops over many years.  It is most often diagnosed in adults, however an increase in children, teens, and young adults is occurring.
  • Gestational diabetes occurs in pregnant women who have never had diabetes before. Gestational diabetes increases the risk of high blood pressure during pregnancy, and the risk of premature birth and its consequences.  Although, the mother’s blood sugar may return to normal after delivery, her risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life increases.  The baby is also more likely to have obesity as a child or teen and develop type 2 diabetes later in life.
  • Prediabetes is a condition where blood sugars are higher than normal, but not high enough for type 2 diabetes.   Prediabetes increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Individuals with prediabetes have a great opportunity to prevent type 2 diabetes and its consequences, making specific lifestyle changes.

Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death, in the U.S.2 and 6th in Nevada.  It accounts for 3.1% of all deaths in the U.S. and 3.3% of all deaths in Nevada3.

Risk factors for diabetes:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Age (45 and older)
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Previously diagnosed with gestational diabetes or gave birth to a baby weighing more than nine pounds
  • Race/ethnicity (African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian, Alaska Native, Asian, or Pacific islander)

In Nevada, the Diabetes Prevention and Control Program  leads the efforts for lifestyle evidence-based changes, health equity, and self-management.


For data and statistics on diabetes please click here.

For information on diabetes prevention please click here.


Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease¹ is the most common type of dementia. It is a brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. Alzheimer’s disease is irreversible, progressive, and is the 6th leading cause of death among all adults that accounts for 4.3% in the U.S.2 and the 5th leading cause of death among those aged 65 or older.  In Nevada, it is leading cause of death and accounts for 2.6% of all causes of death.3

For information on symptoms and evolution of Alzheimer’s click here.

The most affected are those aged 65 and older (15% of the general population) and the incidence of the disease doubles every 5 years beyond age 65.

According to CDC, in 2020, the estimated cost of caring for and treating people with Alzheimer’s disease was $305 billion.  By 2050 these costs are projected to be more than $1.1 trillion.

CDC leads the national efforts to help older adults with dementia by:

  • Promote awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
  • Studying the burden of dementias in states and communities.
  • Supporting data collection on cognitive decline and caregiving, working to ensure that caregivers have the resources to provide quality care to people with dementia.


For information on Alzheimer’s data please click here.



Nevada’s Authority on Epidemiology

Access up-to-date data on all active infectious diseases reported in Nevada

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