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NIH urges women to protect their heart health and to encourage others to do the same

The National Institutes of Health
Research Matters (NIH)

February 1, 2013

During American Heart Month, The Heart Truth Campaign encourages action by highlighting personal experiences with heart disease

During American Heart Month in February 2013, The Heart Truth campaign of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) will celebrate the stories of women taking action to protect their hearts and who are inspiring and motivating others to make heart-healthy lifestyle changes.

Women and men across the country will kick off the month on Friday, Feb. 1 by participating in the 11th annual National Wear Red Day, which encourages all Americans to wear red to show their support for raising awareness of women's heart disease. The NHLBI is part of the National Institutes of Health.

"Over the past 11 years, The Heart Truth campaign has raised awareness that heart disease is the leading killer of women in the United States. Closing the gap between awareness and prevention of heart disease remains a critical public health imperative, and with the information, tools, and support offered by The Heart Truth, women have tremendous power to create change," said Gary H. Gibbons, M.D., director of the NHLBI.

More women are finding out their personal risk for developing heart disease. In a 2009 American Heart Association survey, 48 percent reported discussing heart disease with their doctor, up from 30 percent in 1997. Women can significantly reduce their risk of heart disease by managing cholesterol levels, controlling blood pressure, not smoking, and adopting other healthy habits such as eating well, being active, and keeping a healthy weight.

This year, the campaign focuses on the importance of women talking with each other and sharing their stories in the fight against heart disease.

"Every woman has a role to play and a story to share. Informed women who have recognized the benefits of positive changes in their lives have the power to inspire, encourage, and motivate others to make healthy changes," said Nakela Cook, M.D., medical officer at the NHLBI. 

The Heart Truth and its partners will host events during American Heart Month to showcase women's personal heart disease prevention journeys and help motivate all women to take healthy lifestyle actions that lower their risk for heart disease. 

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