Press Release

February 2, 2012


National Wear Red Day ®
Kicks Off American Heart Month

Heart disease is the number one killer of women in Illinois, and the U.S.  

SPRINGFIELD – Help the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) kick off American Heart Month by taking part in National Wear Red Day ® this Friday, February 3, 2012. Ask your friends, family and co-workers to wear red on Friday to show their support for women's heart disease awareness.

February is American Heart Month, a month to spread awareness about the importance of heart health. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for all Americans and accounts for $1 out of every $6 health care dollars according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Heart Truth ® is a national awareness campaign for women about heart disease sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. While heart disease has traditionally been seen as a “man’s disease,” one in three women dies of heart disease. Women also are more likely than men to have some other signs of heart attack such as shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting or back and jaw pain.

Risk Factors

Know the risk factors that may increase your chances of getting heart disease.

  • High blood cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight
  • Family history of early heart disease
  • Age (55 or older for women)
  • Being physically inactive
  • Smoking


Some questions to ask your doctor or health care provider to help you better understand your heart health include:

  • What is my risk for heart disease?
  • What is my blood pressure? What does it mean for me and what do I need to do about it?
  • What are my cholesterol numbers? What do they mean for me and what do I need to do about them?
  • Do I need to lose weight for my health?
  • What is my blood sugar level? Am I at risk for diabetes?
  • What other screening tests for heart disease do I need? How often should I return for checkups for my heart health?
  • How much physical activity do I need to help protect my heart?
  • What is a heart-healthy eating plan for me?

Urgency of Heart Attack

A heart attack is a life-and-death emergency where every second counts.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, do not wait (no longer than five minutes) before calling for help. Call 911 and get to the hospital right away.

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat
  • Sudden dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Unusual upper body pain (arms, back, jaw)
  • Skipped heart beats
  • Unusual or unexplained fatigue

Preventing Heart Disease

The following are some of the steps you can take to decrease you risk of heart disease.

  • Quit smoking
  • Control your blood pressure
  • Control your blood cholesterol
  • Control your weight
  • Reduce your stress level
  • Be physically active
  • Eat a nutritious diet
For more information about heart disease go to , and don’t forget to wear red this Friday, February 3, 2012 to raise awareness of heart disease and support the women in our lives.

idph online home
idph online home

Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
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