Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. More than 150,000 Nevadans are living with coronary heart disease. 

Because February is American Heart Month, Seniors' Supportive Nurse Trudy Italiano with Northern Nevada Hopes wants to spread awareness about the disease and community outreach events.

Italiano gives free checkups to more than 100 patients a month, at community outreach events, "It takes five minutes just to get checked and it really could save your life."

The checkups are done at six sites throughout Washoe County, aimed at the senior population. For them, high blood pressure is the most common heart condition. 

High blood pressure and heart disease are known as silent killers because many people never even have symptoms. The goal of Italiano's community outreach checkups are to catch it sooner than later. Italiano recalls one patient who stood out, "I listened to her heart sounds, and it sure enough sounded like she was in [atrial fibrillation] which she thought was unusual, because she had just had a procedure to address that."

Heart disease can affect more than just the heart, though. Italiano explains it can not only lead to heart attacks and strokes, but affects patients with diabetes, as well. Italiano adds, "90 percent of people who have ever had open-heart surgery experience depression."

To best control blood pressure, Italiano suggests avoiding salty and fatty foods, not smoking, exercising daily, even if it is just a short walk, lose weight if necessary, avoid or limit alcohol and always remember to take medicine your doctor prescribes you.

The community checkups are free to seniors aged 60 and up, and no documentation is required. 

List of checkup sites: 

Reno Senior Center: 1155 9th Street, Reno NV 89512.   Weekly, every Thursday from 9AM-11AM

Sparks Senior Center: 97 Richards Way, Sparks NV 89431.   Monthly, every second Friday from 11AM-1PM

Evelyn Mount Community Center: 1301 Valley Road, Reno NV 89512.   Monthly, every third Wednesday from 12:30PM-2PM

Cold Springs Senior Center: 3355 White Lake Pkwy., Reno NV 89508.   Monthly, every second Monday from 11AM-1PM

Sun Valley Senior Center: 115 West 6th Ave., Sun Valley NV 89433.   Monthly, every fourth Friday from 10AM to 12PM

Gerlach Senior Center: 385 E. Sunset Blvd., Gerlach NV 89412.   Monthly, every second Wednesday from 11AM to 1PM