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Stars Strut on the Runway for Women's Heart Health
Date:2/10/2011

By E.J. Mundell
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Feb. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Actress Denise Richards wowed the crowd in scarlet, while Today show host Ann Curry hit the catwalk in fire-engine red. Oprah Winfrey's best-friend-forever, talk show host Gayle King, sashayed in a cherry Donna Karan number, while hip-hop star Eve rocked out in crimson.

Taking part Wednesday night in the annual Red Dress Collection fashion show in New York City, each of these stars (and more) were on a mission: To get the word out that heart disease is the leading killer of women, and that it can be prevented.

"It's so important to bring awareness to whoever we can on this," said soul legend Patti LaBelle, 66, who dazzled in a flowing Zang Toi gown. The music diva has had a long and public struggle with diabetes, and acknowledged that she has a heart murmur that causes her some worry. "I think sometimes that I'm exhausted from my shows, but it could be from not knowing what's up with my ticker," she said. Her message to other women: "Make sure you take care of yourself and get checkups."

The celebrity-studded show -- the kickoff to this month's New York Fashion Week -- is the annual centerpiece of The Heart Truth campaign, an effort to spread awareness of heart disease among women, sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Over the past few years, the Red Dress symbol has become to heart disease what the pink ribbon is to breast cancer awareness, one expert said.

"It's a powerful symbol -- every time you see someone wearing a red dress it reminds everyone that they should take a check of their heart. The dress inspires movement, it empowers women to take charge of their heart health," said Dr. Jennifer H. Mieres, a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association's Go Red For Women campaign, which, like The Heart Truth campaign, works to
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