February is Heart Health Month

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Although significant progress has been made in increasing awareness among women that heart disease is their #1 killer (from 34 percent in 2000 to 56 percent in 2012) many still fail to make the connection between its risk factors and their personal risk of developing heart disease. In fact, this disease kills 1 out of every 4 American women. In Idaho alone, more than 22,200 women have coronary heart disease.

The Heart Truth created and introduced the Red Dress® as the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness in 2002 to deliver an urgent wake-up call to American women. The Red Dress® inspires women to take action to protect their heart health.

While heart disease risk begins to rise in middle age, heart disease develops over time and can start at a young age, even in the teen years. It’s never too early, or too late, to take action to prevent and control the risk factors for heart disease. The Heart Truth is building awareness of women’s heart disease and empowering women to reduce and prevent their risk. It is reaching women with important heart health messages in community settings through a diverse network of national and grassroots partner organizations.

Now is the time to learn about ways to prevent or lessen the effects of heart disease. Even small changes to add more physical activity, lower body weight, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and to eat a healthier diet can add years to your life. There are many resources nationally and locally to provide education and coaching on health, wellness and nutrition. This project is designed to provide information and empower women to take charge of their health.

The Heart Truth education program is sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in partnership with The Office on Women’s Health (OWH) and other groups committed to the health and well-being of women. You can visit their web site to see stories from women who have had cardiac events and survived and are now taking the steps to put their health and wellness first.

To find out more about women and heart disease, visit The Heart Truth Web pages at www.hearttruth.gov or call the NHLBI Health Information Center at 301-592-8573.

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