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FOR RELEASE: February 4, 2004
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

February 6 is National Wear Red Day for Women

Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) officials and the American Heart Association encourage everyone to wear red in support of the National Wear Red Day for Women this Friday, Feb. 6.

This observance is part of the Go Red for Women campaign, which was created to show support for women who have been touched by heart disease in their lives. Red is the American Heart Association’s color for women and heart disease.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains American’s No. 1 killer, still claiming more lives than the other major causes of death, according to the American Heart Association’s Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics - 2004 Update released in January. Cardiovascular diseases include high blood pressure, coronary heart disease (heart attack, angina, or chest pain), congestive heart failure, stroke, and congenital heart defects.

In Oklahoma, coronary heart disease is the single largest killer of Oklahomans and accounts for one in five deaths in women. According to the OSDH, health-related behaviors contribute to the onset of heart disease as well as other related conditions, such as high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol.

“We support the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute in their efforts to persuade women to pay more attention to their heart health,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Mike Crutcher. “The Go Red For Women campaign encourages women to take charge of their health so they can live longer, stronger lives. We want women to know that they can enhance their heart health by maintaining regular bouts of physical activity, improving nutritional intake, and eliminating tobacco use.”

Some heart attacks are sudden, but most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren't sure what's wrong and wait too long before getting help.

Some heart attack warning signs are:

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath. This feeling often comes along with chest discomfort, but it can occur before the chest discomfort.
  • Other signs: These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

Join the National Wear Red Day for Women campaign on Friday, Feb. 6. All Oklahomans are encouraged to wear red in support of women who have been touched by heart disease. You may learn more by visiting the American Heart Association Web site or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

For more information on heart health, contact your health care provider, your local county health department, or the Oklahoma State Department of Health at 405/271-4072

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