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Trump once again floats the idea of being president beyond two terms. Also on the Monday rundown: A new national report ranks children's well-being, from coast to coast; and a Family Care Act gains support.

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Iowans Raise Awareness of Women's Heart Health on 'Wear Red Friday'

Experts say risk assessment, weight loss, and regular exercise are the three things women can do to reduce their risk of heart attack or stroke. (MabelAmber/Pixabay)
Experts say risk assessment, weight loss, and regular exercise are the three things women can do to reduce their risk of heart attack or stroke. (MabelAmber/Pixabay)
February 1, 2019

DES MOINES, Iowa – Red will be the color of choice for employees at the YMCA of Greater Des Moines today, as American Heart Month kicks off with "National Wear Red Day" to raise awareness for women's heart health.

Since 2006, the death rate for women from coronary heart disease in Iowa has been declining – but it still exceeds the national average. Penny Luthen, director of association programs with the YMCA of Greater Des Moines, says many people make lifestyle or health-related resolutions in January, but often wait a few weeks to act on them.

"They might join in January, but February is when they actually come into a class or decide to do something, after they've kind-of been on the perimeter, looking and checking out what's going on," says Luthen.

The American Heart Association of Iowa says cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death for both women and men in the United States, and accounts for one-third of all deaths among women – more than all forms of cancer, combined.

Heart disease and stroke are considered to be 80 percent preventable, but they still claim the lives of one in three women nationwide.

Nearly 7,000 Iowans died of heart disease in 2016, and it's been the leading cause of death in Iowa since 1920.

Luthen says people looking to improve their health should define what that means to them – and what steps they're willing to take. She says it often includes answering these questions.

"Are you seeing the doctor on a regular basis?" asks Luthen. “Are you getting your blood pressure checked? Do you see the dentist? Do you go to the eye doctor? Do you exercise and if you do, how often do you do that?"

If you're suffering from any symptoms that appear to be heart-related, it's imperative to call 911, so the process of diagnosis and treatment can begin immediately.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - IA