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Concerns About Heart Disease Voiced

CHEVY CHASE, Md., June 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "Heart disease, the main killer in the United States, is still one of the most preventable illnesses and is largely treatable through diet, exercise and early detection," an organization dedicated to combating cardiovascular disease said today.

Nearly 700,000 men and women die of cardiovascular disease each year in the United States.

"Although diagnosis of heart disease can be elusive and patients may have had no prior symptoms, taking the right preventive measures can save thousands of lives," said Irene Pollin, M.S.W., founder and president of the Sister to Sister Foundation based in Chevy Chase, Md. The foundation, which spearheads the annual National Women's Healthy Heart Campaign, holds health fairs in 17 major cities and provides free heart screenings at the fairs and at other locations throughout America.

"Heart disease is largely preventable through lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, increasing exercise and eating a healthier diet," Pollin said in a statement issued to bring increased awareness to the problem of heart disease.

Dr. Roger S. Blumenthal, professor of Medicine and Director of the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease in Baltimore, Md., and a member of the Sister to Sister medical advisory council, said: "Up to 50% of sudden cardiac death occurs among individuals with no prior known symptoms of cardiovascular disease. It is imperative to identify risk factors for heart disease, and cause people to make lifestyle changes and undertake other preventive strategies."

"While long considered a man's disease," Mrs. Pollin pointed out, "more women (53%) than men have heart disease. Women have the same risk factors as men, but some of the risks have different symptoms. For example, in men the danger signs include pressure in the chest, pain in the arms, neck jaw and back, difficulty breathing, and lightheadedness. In women, the heart-attack signs may be sudden sweating, shortness of breath and nausea."

In 2007, at the Sister to Sister health fairs held throughout the United States, it is estimated that almost 40% of the 9,795 women screened found out that they had two or more risk factors for heart disease. Those factors included obesity, elevated blood pressure and dangerous levels of cholesterol. A significant number of the participants had been unaware of this before the screening, surveys conducted at the fairs showed.

"Getting a heart health screening may be the most important step we may ever take in saving our lives. Just fearing the No. 1 killer of men and women in the United States isn't enough. It's important get a cardiovascular check up and follow a regime of diet and exercise and to adhere to any treatment that may be prescribed by one's physician," said the organization in its statement.

Sister to Sister: Everyone Has a Heart Foundation is a national grassroots, nonprofit foundation that educates women about heart disease and provides free cardiovascular risk screenings to encourage women to make lifestyle changes to prevent or reduce their risk of heart disease.

CONTACT: Janet Staihar, 202-797-7373

Sister to Sister: Everyone Has A Heart Foundation

4701 Willard Avenue, Suite 223

Chevy Chase, Md 20815

SOURCE Sister to Sister: Everyone Has a Heart Foundation
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