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Archive for Wednesday, September 17, 2003

First lady on heart health campaign

Laura Bush brings message to K.C. hospital

September 17, 2003

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— First lady Laura Bush on Tuesday visited with area women who survived heart attacks or were at risk for heart disease.

"We all take care of our husbands," Bush said while visiting St. Luke's Hospital, "but we need to take care of ourselves too."

Bush, wearing a red dress meant to symbolize heart disease awareness, visited with 17 women before urging a larger audience to take care of their hearts. She is promoting healthy diet, exercise and preventive screenings as part of a national campaign warning women about heart disease.

"If my mother-in-law, Barbara Bush, can swim 88 laps at a time, surely the rest of us can walk 30 minutes every day," she said.

Heart disease kills one in three women, making it the leading cause of death for women.

More women than men died from heart disease in 2002, but many women still think of it as a "man's disease," Bush said.

"One of the main problems with women and heart disease is that they don't recognize the symptoms of a heart attack," she said.

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, symptoms can include pain or discomfort in the center of the chest; pain or discomfort in other areas of the upper body, including the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach; shortness of breath; breaking out in a cold sweat; nausea; and lightheadedness.

Dr. Tracy Stevens, a cardiologist at the women's cardiac center at St. Luke's Hospital, said women also delay reporting their symptoms when they have heart attacks.

She said that, on average, women having heart attacks show up an hour later than men, but fast treatment can mean the difference between surviving a heart attack or not surviving.

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