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American Heart Month --- February 2008

February is American Heart Month. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Women account for 47.1% of deaths related to heart disease (1). In 2005, an estimated 16 million persons in the United States were living with coronary heart disease, and 8.1 million reported ever having had a myocardial infarction (i.e., heart attack) (1). Although the major heart attack signs and symptoms are similar for men and women, women are more likely to experience the less common symptoms and delay seeking emergency treatment. Receipt of prompt, appropriate treatment greatly increases the chance of surviving a heart attack (2,3).

CDC funds heart disease and stroke prevention programs in health departments in 33 states and the District of Columbia. A primary activity of these programs is conducting campaigns to increase public awareness of heart attack signs and symptoms and the importance of calling 9-1-1 when experiencing these symptoms.

Information regarding heart disease is available from the American Heart Association at http://www.americanheart.org and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov. Information regarding CDC heart disease programs is available at http://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp.

References

  1. American Heart Association. Heart disease and stroke statistics---2008 update. Dallas, TX: American Heart Association; 2008. Available at http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/reprint/117/4/e25.
  2. National Institutes of Health; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Women and heart attack. Available at www.nhlbi.nih.gov/actintime/haws/women.htm.
  3. Mensah GA, Hand MM, Antman EM, Ryan Jr TJ, Schriever R, Smith Jr SC. Development of systems of care for ST-elevation myocardial infarction patients: the patient and public perspectives. Circulation 2007;116:e33--e38.



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