|May 4, 2004||"The Heart Truth"
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Red Dress Project display in the Illinois State Capitol
GROUPS WORK TO RAISE AWARENESS OF
SPRINGFIELD, Ill -- The Illinois Department of Public Health, women state legislators and the American Heart Association today joined forces to encourage women to take their heart health seriously and personally.
"While many may think cancer is the No. 1 killer of women, the fact is that heart disease is the leading cause of death of women in the United States and Illinois," said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director. "It is never too early or too late to take action to prevent and control the risk factors. A woman should talk to her health care provider about her risks for heart disease and take steps to lead a heart healthy life."
Almost 16,000 Illinois women died of heart disease in 2002, compared to 12,000 from cancer and 4,500 from stroke.
Heart disease includes coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, angina and other conditions. Risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, obesity, physical inactivity, diabetes, family history of early coronary heart disease and age (55 years of age and older).
"Once heart disease develops, it can be managed but it cannot be cured," Dr. Whitaker said. "However, without lifestyle changes, such as not smoking, following a heart healthy diet and regular physical activity, heart disease will likely worsen."
As part of an effort to raise heart disease awareness, the Department and the other groups today sponsored the national Heart Truth Campaign and its Red Dress Project in the Illinois State Capitol building rotunda. The event, which was open to the public, offered educational exhibits and free risk factor screenings for heart disease.
Launched by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the Heart Truth Campaign features a Red Dress as the symbol for women and heart disease awareness. The Red Dress Project includes a traveling collection of red dresses contributed by top fashion designers. Designers of the four dresses on display at the state Capitol were Michael Kors, Carmen Marc Valvo, Nicole Miller and Narcisco Rodriguez. The Red Dress signals a red alert that heart disease doesn't care what you wear and it is not just a disease that affects men.
State Reps. Monique Davis, D-Chicago; Susana Mendoza, D-Chicago; and Patricia Bellock, R-Hinsdale, representing the Conference of Women Legislators; Sharon Green, deputy director, Illinois Department of Public Health, Office of Women's Health; Marlene Carlson, Springfield, a cardiovascular disease survivor; and Dr. Holly Novak, a cardiologist with Prairie Heart Institute, Springfield, all spoke at a news conference to highlight the awareness effort.
Exhibits and health screenings on the first floor of the Capitol included displays from several Department programs, as well as the American Heart Association, Memorial Health Systems, Prairie Heart Institute, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, St. John's Hospital, the Springfield Department of Public Health, the Sangamon County Health Department, the Illinois Department of Human Services, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Region V Office on Women's Health.
In conjunction with National Women's Health Week (May 9-15), the Illinois Department of Public Health will host a Women's Health Fair May 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph St., Chicago.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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