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FOR RELEASE: February 16 , 2006
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

February is National Heart Month

Cardiovascular disease remains the number one killer in Oklahoma. The UnitedHealth Foundation’s 2005 Report ranks Oklahoma 44th worst in the nation for health status and 50th worst for cardiovascular disease death rates. According to Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) officials, cardiovascular disease accounted for 30 percent of total deaths in Oklahoma in 2004, claiming more than 10,000 lives.

Cardiovascular diseases include high blood pressure, coronary heart disease (heart attack and angina, or chest pain), congestive heart failure, stroke, and congenital heart defects. Heart disease is not a “men only” disease. The Heart’s Truth is that one in three women die of heart disease. The risk for heart disease rises in women ages 40 to 60 and two-thirds of women who have heart attacks never fully recover.

According to the OSDH OKHeart Program, men and women need to be aware of the preventable risk factors that contribute to the onset of heart disease. Risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, physical inactivity, and poor eating habits. Every Oklahoman can take steps to reduce their risk for developing heart disease.

Public health officials and the OKHeart Program encourage all Oklahomans during the month of February to improve their heart health. Some recommendations are:

  • Include at least 30 minutes of physical activity into your day.
  • Eat at least 5 fruits and vegetables each day.
  • Decrease fat and cholesterol in the foods you eat.
  • Sodium intake should be less than 2300mg/day.
  • Do not use tobacco products (cigarettes and smokeless tobacco).
  • Schedule regular visits with your physician to control blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Take prescribed medications for high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol to control disease and prevent further complications or disability.

For more information, contact the OSDH Chronic Disease Service, your local county health department, or your health care provider.

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