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Minnesotans Asked to "Go Red" Today

February 2, 2007

Expect to see red today -- and a lot of it -- as Minnesotans participate in "National Wear Red Day." It's an effort to raise awareness that heart disease is the leading killer of women, and to promote prevention strategies, says Dr. Priscilla Hedberg, a cardiologist at St. Paul Heart Clinic and spokesperson for the Minnesota chapter of the American Heart Association.

"Most women aren't aware of the fact that heart disease kills more women than the next four causes of death combined,
including breast cancer."

Hedberg blames a number of factors for the startling statistic. She says some women simply don't expect to have heart attacks and, when they don't recognize the symptoms, they delay getting medical help. While genetics are among the common risk factors, there are steps any woman can take to lower her heart attack risks.

"If we could eliminate smoking among women, we could probably eliminate 60 percent of heart attacks. Playing attention to blood pressure, blood sugar, lipids -- and particularly physical activity -- can really modify their chances of developing heart disease in the first place."

Events today include a rally at the University of Minnesota at Tri-Cities Fieldhouse, where the state's First Lady, Mary Pawlenty, is the keynote speaker. Can't attend? Anyone can take advantage of a free online "Heart Checkup," which uses factors such as weight and blood pressure to create a ten-year health risk assessment, along with suggestions for staying healthy. Find the "Heart Checkup" online at: www.goredforwomen.org.

Jim Wishner/Jamie Folsom, Public News Service - MN