"The Heart Truth Campaign" Urges Women To Take Good Blood Pressure Seriously
February is American Heart Month, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's (NHLBI) landmark heart health awareness campaign for women—The Heart Truth—continues to help increase awareness that heart disease is the No.1 killer of women.
Heart disease deaths in women have gone down in each of the seven years since 1999—from 373,575 in 1999 to 315,674 deaths in 2006, according to NHLBI. This decrease of more than 15 percent is a consecutive yearly decline that has not occurred before.
NHLBI experts analyzed data for 2006, the most recent year for which data are available. The analysis shows that women are living longer and healthier lives, and dying of heart disease at much later ages than in the past.
However, data on increasing rates of overweight and obesity, important risk factors for heart disease in younger women, indicate there could be a greater prevalence of heart disease in later years.
“One-third of women still underestimate their own personal risk of getting heart disease.”
"Having even one risk factor can double a woman's chance of developing heart disease," says NHLBI Acting Director Susan Shurin, M.D. "You can protect yourself and your family if you don't smoke, eat a heart-healthy diet low in saturated fat and high in fruits and vegetables, maintain a healthy weight, and are physically active. Know and control your risks—talk to your doctor about your blood pressure and cholesterol."
A new survey, conducted in March 2009, shows that 69 percent of women are aware that heart disease is their No.1 killer, a slight increase from 2008. However, even with awareness on the rise, many women do not take this message seriously or personally. One-third of women still underestimate their own personal risk of getting heart disease, and too many—one in four women—still die from heart disease.