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Abbott 'Goes Red' to Educate Bay Area Women About Heart Disease

Abbott Sponsors American Heart Association's 'Go Red for Women' Movement in

the Bay Area

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Feb. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- As a leader in cardiovascular treatment and the exclusive Bay Area "hometown" partner for the national "Go Red for Women" program, Abbott ( is partnering with the American Heart Association (AHA) to raise awareness about heart disease, the leading cause of death for women in America.

One out of every three American women will die of heart disease, yet, according to AHA, only 13 percent of women believe heart disease is their greatest health risk. While largely preventable, heart disease in women often goes underdiagnosed and undertreated. Data shows that most women fail to make the connection between risk factors like high blood pressure and high cholesterol and their risk of developing heart disease.

Through this year-long campaign, which kicks off in February -- American Heart Month -- Abbott and AHA hope to raise awareness that even women without classic risk factors and symptoms may be at risk -- just ask Michelle Smietana, a software testing engineer at Abbott. Ironically, Michelle just had her blood pressure and cholesterol checked -- both were normal. While she used to smoke and had been a bit overweight, she was feeling strong and healthy so she didn't know what to suspect last spring when she experienced some back pain that crept into her neck. At just 33, both she and the cardiologist who treated her were shocked when her ultrasound results showed evidence of a heart attack.

"If heart disease can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. I was only

33, had low cholesterol and good blood pressure. I didn't have the

"normal" symptoms you associate with heart disease like left arm pain and

pressure in my chest. Going through cardiac rehabilitation helped make

exercise a regular part of my life and has helped repair the damage to my

heart. Through this campaign, I hope other women hear my story and take

steps to understand their risk for heart disease."

Michelle Smietana, of Abbott, 33-year-old heart attack victim

According to AHA, Michelle is not alone. Heart attacks strike 9,000 women younger than 45 each year.

To increase the awareness of this and other little known facts about heart disease, Dr. Sandra Burke, a scientist in the Santa Clara-based vascular division of Abbott, is dedicating her career and her free time to fighting heart disease.

"Abbott and AHA urge women to talk to their doctors about their risk of

heart disease and to start taking action to lead healthier lives."

Dr. Sandra Burke

Director, cardiovascular biology research, Abbott Vascular

In addition to raising awareness through campaigns like "Go Red," Abbott is committed to developing new drugs and medical devices to treat heart disease and related conditions. With diagnostic tests, pharmaceutical products, nutritional products and vascular stents to diagnose and treat heart disease, Abbott has one of the world's leading heart disease and vascular care businesses.

Abbott's CEO, Miles White, sent an e-mail to the company's 35,000 U.S. employees earlier today echoing this commitment.

"Abbott is in the fight against heart disease for the long haul and

through all the means at our disposal: with our diagnostic tests to

identify cardiovascular conditions, our pharmaceutical treatments to

improve patients' cardiovascular health, our nutritional products that

help to improve cardiovascular status, and our stents that relieve acute

vascular conditions by reopening blocked arteries. It's only natural that

we lend our philanthropic support and the skills and commitment of our

people, as well."

Miles D. White, chairman and chief executive officer, Abbott

Go Red Heart Checkup

Women throughout the Bay Area can register today for a free online heart checkup that predicts their personal risk of having a heart attack within 10 years. To register, visit

About Abbott

Abbott (NYSE: ABT) is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacturing and marketing of pharmaceuticals and medical products, including nutritionals, devices and diagnostics. The company employs 65,000 people and markets its products in more than 130 countries. Abbott's news releases and other information are available on the company's Web site at

Related Links

Go Red for Women


Women, Heart Disease and Stroke, the American Heart Association


American Heart Association


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