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Awareness Spreading For Women And Heart Disease

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Stethoscope (Photo Illustration by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

Stethoscope (Photo Illustration by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

CBS Chicago (con't)

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WBBM) – Heart Disease is the leading killer of women, but heart month is here, and awareness is spreading.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Brian Seay reports, the American Heart Association is getting the word out on early symptoms and warning sign differences between men and women.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780′s Brian Seay reports

Heart Association advocacy committee member Kemia Sarraf says women need to stop making excuses when it comes to heart health.

“Women tend to ignore the early warning signs because we don’t want to be seen as histrionic, we don’t want to be seen as complainers, we don’t have time, there’s no babysitter for the kids, I’ve got to get dinner done – all sorts of excuses,” she said. “But the truth of the matter is that they should never be ignored, because it can be deadly.”

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Damon Arnold says certain life choices can reduce the risk of heart disease.

“The good news is that through awareness, more people are taking necessary steps, literally, to lower their risk by giving up smoking, eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight and leading a physically healthy lifestyle,” he said. “Together, these lifestyle changes can lower a woman’s chance of heart disease by more than 82 percent.”

Sarraf says awareness is the key.

“There is something each one of us can do,” she said. “We can educate each other, we can educate our children, we can choose to make healthier choices regarding the foods that we eat, the number of activities that we do during the day. There are choices that we can make. This is not a fate. We are not fated to heart disease.”

A virtual heart health checkup, and more information on the Go Red for Women movement – the Heart Association campaign to raise heart health awareness – is available at GoRedForWomen.org.

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