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Everyone Will Be Seeing Red Friday!

February 5, 2009

Sioux Falls, SD – Women from across the state and nation are encouraged to wear red tomorrow as part of the American Heart Association’s annual Go Red observance to raise public awareness that heart disease is the leading killer of women. More than 460,000 lives are lost to the disease each year.

Jen McKeown, with the Heart Association in South Dakota, says that February Heart Month and tomorrow's Wear Red Day are designed to raise women’s awareness about their risk of heart disease. She says the Go Red observance encourages women from across the state to promote heart health by reducing their risk.

"Part of the problem is that women just don’t realize heart disease is their number-one killer and they don’t realize what a huge risk it is. We offer a free online risk assessment they can sign up for so they can learn their risk, then print it and take it to their doctors."

Three-time heart attack survivor Sonja Carlberg of Sioux Falls will be wearing red Friday. She says having an attack is frightening, and women need to pay heed to the warning signs, including breaking into a sweat, light-headedness, or discomfort in the center of the chest, arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach.

"Listen to your body and any little thing that seems out of the ordinary. Nobody is going to tell you you should not have come in and be checked. Denial, I think, is the main cause of death due to heart disease, because we don’t think it can happen to us."

The Heart Association says the best way for women to reduce their risk of heart disease is with good nutrition, exercise and by quitting smoking. In addition to encouraging women to wear red on Friday, other Go Red events are planned across the state this week. Several landmarks, including the state Capitol, will use lighting to turn red. The Governor and mayors from across the state, have also signed proclamations marking this weeks' Go Red for Women observance.

Other landmark events include; Deer Mountain, where a heart will be painted on the side of the mountain; Avera Heart Hospital, where a red dress symbol will be projected on the side of their building, and a Go Red for Women luncheon, scheduled for February 19 in Sioux Falls at the Ramkota, beginning at 11:45 am.

More information, including the free online risk assessment tool, is available at www.goredforwomen.org.

David Law, Public News Service - SD