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FOR RELEASE: January 29 , 2008
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Women Urged to “Wear Red” Feb. 1 to Increase Awareness of Heart Disease

Ask a woman what she believes her greatest health risk to be and you are likely to get “breast cancer” as the answer. The fact is that one out of every three women will die from heart disease while one in 35 women dies from breast cancer.

Long thought of as a “man’s disease,” heart disease and heart attacks are increasingly common among females. This is especially true in Oklahoma, where women have a 35 percent higher rate of death from heart disease than U.S. women overall.

“We must make every effort to reduce our state’s mortality rates through public health awareness, prevention, early detection, and effective treatment,” said Secretary of Health and Commissioner of Health Dr. Mike Crutcher.

On Friday, Feb. 1, the Oklahoma State Department of Health asks the public to join millions of Americans in celebrating National Wear Red Day to help raise awareness about women's heart disease. Every year, more American women die of heart disease than any other cause, yet about one-third of women underestimate their own personal risk of heart disease based on their medical history and risk factors.

The Heart Truth campaign, sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, introduced the Red Dress as the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness in 2002 to deliver an urgent wakeup call to American women. The Red Dress was chosen to remind women of the need to protect their heart health and to inspire them to take action. By wearing red on Feb. 1, you can send a life-saving message that heart disease is the number one killer of women.

“Encourage your family, friends, and colleagues to pay more attention to their heart health and take steps to lead healthier lifestyles. Remember that preventing or controlling key heart disease risk factors including smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, overweight or obesity, physical inactivity, and diabetes, are important steps to lower risks and produce a healthier heart,” Dr. Crutcher said.

For more information about heart disease, contact your health care provider or the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s Chronic Disease Service at (405) 271- 4072.

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