Press Release
January 31, 2013
CONTACT: Melaney Arnold 
Communications Manager  
(217) 558-0500

Celebrate American Heart Month and National Wear Red DayŽ and Wear Red Tomorrow

Cardiovascular diseases kills 1 in every 3 people in the U.S.

SPRINGFIELD – To celebrate American Heart Month this February, Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck is asking Illinoisans, “Do you know the signs of a heart attack and how to reduce your risk?” In the United States, 1 in 3 deaths is the result of heart disease and stroke, equaling 2,200 deaths each day according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Heart disease doesn’t just start one day in your 40s or 50s. It can be the result of not taking care of yourself over your lifetime – not being physically active, smoking, high stress levels and not eating a nutritious diet,” said Dr. Hasbrouck. “What you do in your teens, 20s and 30s can impact your health as you get older. It is important that all age groups embrace a healthy lifestyle and work to lower the chance of having a heart attack or stroke.”

While some cardiovascular disease risk factors cannot be controlled, such as a family history or age, others can.

Risk Factors: Things that can increase your risk of heart disease include:

  • High blood cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Smoking

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States as well as the leading cause of disability. Cardiovascular disease is also very expensive. According to the CDC, heart disease and stroke hospitalizations combined in 2010 cost the nation more than $444 billion in health care expenses and lost productivity.

To raise awareness of the financial, physical and emotional toll heart disease takes, Illinois is celebrating American Heart Month by lighting state buildings in red each night during February. IDPH also invites people to celebrate National Wear Red DayŽ, the first Friday in February, to raise awareness about heart disease and encourage people to know the warning signs of a heart attack, talk with their doctor about heart health and learn how to lower their risk of heart disease.

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

  • Heavy chest pressure or pain
  • Sharp pain in the neck, back and jaw
  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Cold sweats
  • Unusual or unexplained fatigue
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Unexplained nausea or vomiting

Questions: Some questions you can ask your doctor or health care provider to help you better understand 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 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?
  • What can I do to quit smoking?
  • How much physical activity do I need to help protect my heart?
  • What is a heart-healthy eating plan for me?

Sometimes thought of as a man’s disease, cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of both men and women. To help raise awareness of heart disease in women, Governor Quinn has declared February to be Women’s Healthy Heart Month in Illinois.

For more information about heart disease, go to, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit

National Wear Red DayŽ is a registered trademark of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and American Heart Association.

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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