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Illinois taking charge in the fight against heart disease

February marks American Heart Month
Heather Ingo-Nutile

You may see Illinois turning from snow white covered to red in the month of February.

Across the state citizens and organizations are taking aim at a number one killer.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. To prevent heart
disease and increase awareness of its effects, the month of February has been designated as American Heart Month.

From wearing red to work, attending a free heart health lecture, utilizing free and low cost screenings, and even a grand fundraising luncheon in Chicago, Illinois is taking charge in the fight against heart disease.

Are you looking to join the fight? Here are a few ways you can help take charge of of your own heart health.

You can make healthy changes to lower your risk of developing heart disease.Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people who already have heart disease.

To lower your risk:

• Watch your weight.
• Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
• Control your cholesterol and blood pressure.
• If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
• Get active and eat healthy.

Every good fight takes leadership and strength in numbers. The strength of mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters and friends, fighting side by side is more powerful than any killer. Joining together and taking action can help wipe out this disease.

Here are a few ideas to help you take action to promote heart health.

1. Host an American Heart Month event at local schools, health centers, and
libraries. Work with local recreation and fitness centers to spread the word
about the importance of physical activity to prevent heart disease.

2. Contact your local Red Cross to host a CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation)
training event in your community. Urge local community members to learn
CPR and AED (automated external defibrillator). These skills can help save
the life of someone who has sudden cardiac arrest.

3. Host a 20-minute group walk around your office at lunch time.

4. Conduct a cooking demonstration using a heart-healthy recipe.

Adapted from the American Heart Association.
Contact the American Heart Association ( at for
more information and materials.

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