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AstraZeneca Calls on All Americans to Join US AGAINST ATHERO to Fight the Nation's Number One Killer

2009 Artery Explorer Tour Kicks Off This Month, Urging People Across the Country to Take Action Against Atherosclerosis

WILMINGTON, Del., March 24 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN) today announced the launch of the 2009 US AGAINST ATHERO tour featuring the Artery Explorer -- a state-of-the-art, multisensory, motion simulator that helps people visualize atherosclerosis (athero), the progressive buildup of plaque inside the arteries. The Artery Explorer kicks off its nationwide tour on March 27 in Washington, D.C. and will travel to a total of 16 cities across the country.

US AGAINST ATHERO was conceived three years ago by AstraZeneca after a nationwide Harris Interactive survey confirmed the general public's low level of awareness about athero and its risks. "Working with partners including the Association of Black Cardiologists, the National Alliance on Hispanic Health and WomenHeart, AstraZeneca realized that to get people to take steps to protect their arteries, they needed to see what they could not feel. This fundamental idea led to the creation of US AGAINST ATHERO, a national movement designed to increase awareness of the leading cause of stroke and heart disease, and help Americans fight athero with knowledge.

"The US AGAINST ATHERO movement has made great strides in mobilizing Americans to make healthy choices. However, there is still a lot of work to be done," said Dr. George Kondos, professor of medicine and chief of clinical cardiology at the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center. "Athero is a leading cause of heart disease, which remains the number one killer in this country. With the Artery Explorer tour, more people will get the opportunity to really see what happens when you allow the build-up of plaque to progress, and more importantly, what they can do to help prevent it."

Before turning 35, two out of three Americans will have some degree of plaque build-up in their arteries.(1) However, athero typically has no signs or symptoms until an artery becomes severely narrowed or completely blocked. At this point, people may suffer a heart attack, stroke, or other serious, potentially fatal, health problems.

Inside the Artery Explorer, participants travel through the winding path of the human circulatory system as the arteries become narrow and blocked with plaque. Along the way, people are confronted by common risk factors for athero, such as LDL (bad) cholesterol, high blood pressure, and smoking. The experience culminates with a head-on collision with a blood clot, memorably demonstrating how athero can lead to heart attack and stroke.

"Now is the time to join us in the fight against this deadly disease. Take action by telling a friend to talk to their doctor about athero, by taking a loved-one to an US AGAINST ATHERO event or by visiting to register for free health information," said Mike Tilton, Vice President of AstraZeneca's Cardiovascular therapy area. "As a proud sponsor of the US AGAINST ATHERO movement, AstraZeneca is determined to continue making a meaningful difference in the lives of patients by providing actionable steps to maintain healthy arteries."

Since its 2007 launch, the US AGAINST ATHERO movement has educated millions of Americans about preventing and managing athero. For a full listing of cities in the 2009 tour, as well as more information about athero, visit To receive additional health information including questions to ask your doctor about athero, be sure to click the link for the Athero IQ program. The Web site also features a video of the journey through the arteries for those unable to experience the Artery Explorer in person.

About Atherosclerosis (Athero)

Athero is the progressive buildup of plaque -- made of fat, cholesterol, and other substances -- in the inner walls of the arteries.(1) Elevated cholesterol and other risk factors can contribute to the disease, and for many, the disease progresses silently, with no visible signs or symptoms.(2) Athero is the leading cause of coronary heart disease (CHD), which affects more than 1.2 million Americans and is the No. 1 killer in the U.S.(3) Approximately 785,000 Americans will have their first heart attack in 2009 and about every minute someone will die from a coronary event.(2) Athero is also a leading cause of stroke, which affects nearly 800,000 Americans each year.(2) Together, CHD and stroke kill more Americans every year than all cancers combined.


US AGAINST ATHERO is a movement sponsored by AstraZeneca to increase our nation's awareness of athero with hopes that all Americans will take steps to take care of their arteries. Through education and information, US AGAINST ATHERO supports people in becoming advocates for their own health and for the health of others. To join the US AGAINST ATHERO effort, please visit

About AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca is engaged in the research, development, manufacturing and marketing of meaningful prescription medicines and in the supply of health care services. AstraZeneca is one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies with global health care sales of $31.6 billion and is a leader in gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory, oncology and infectious disease medicines. In the United States, AstraZeneca is a $13.5 billion dollar health care business.

For more information about AstraZeneca in the US or our AZ&Me(TM) Prescription Savings programs, please visit:

(1) Strong et al. Prevalence and extend of atherosclerosis in adolescents and young adults. JAMA. 1999; 281 (8): 727-735.

(2) "What are the Signs and Symptoms of Atherosclerosis?" National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Available at: Accessed January 16, 2009

(3) Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics: 2009 Update. American Heart Association. Accessed January 15, 2009.

SOURCE AstraZeneca
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