Over the past half century scientific data support the strong relationship between the way a person or population lives and their risk for developing or dying from cardiovascular disease (CVD). While heredity can be a major factor for some people, their personal health habits and environmental/cultural exposure are more important factors. CVD is a multifactor process that is contributed to by a variety of biological and behavioral characteristics of the person including a number of well-established and emerging risk factors. Not smoking, being physically active, eating a heart healthy diet, staying reasonably lean, and avoiding major stress and depression are the major components of an effective CVD prevention program. For people at high risk of CVD, medications frequently need to be added to a healthy lifestyle to minimize their risk of a heart attack or stroke, particularly in persons with conditions such as hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, or hyperglycemia. Maintaining an effective CVD prevention program in technologically advanced societies cannot be achieved by many high-risk persons without effective and sustained support from a well-organized health care system. Nurse-provided or nurse-coordinated care management programs using an integrated or multifactor approach have been highly effective in reducing CVD morbidity and mortality of high-risk persons.