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Published on February 04, 2015

Heart Disease Takes the Lives of 1 in 4 People Each Year

February 4, 2015

Courtesy of DeKalb County Health Department

stethoscope with heartFebruary is American Heart Month and Jane Lux, Public Health Administrator, encourages everyone to reduce their risk of heart disease.  Modest changes to diet and lifestyle can improve heart health and lower the risk of heart disease by as much as 80 percent.  Some basic actions you can take include getting active and eating healthy, watching your weight, controlling your cholesterol and blood pressure, eliminating tobacco use and if your drink, drink only in moderation.

“Heart disease is the single leading cause of death in Illinois and the United States.  Every year, approximately 600,000 individuals die in the United States from heart disease.  That amounts to 1 in every 4 deaths”, said Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D., of the Illinois Department of Public Health.

If you believe you or someone you know is having a heart attack, call 9-1-1 immediately.  Treatment can save lives and prevent permanent damage to the heart muscle and works best if given within1 hour of when symptoms begin.  Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, but most start slowly with mild pain or discomfort.  Signs of heart attack include chest pain or discomfort, upper body pain or discomfort (arms, back, neck, jaw), shortness of breath, lightheadedness, nausea and cold sweats. 

Even though heart disease is traditionally thought of as a “man’s disease,” approximately the same number of women, as men, die from it each year.  Despite increases in the past decade, just over half of women recognize heart disease as the leading killer of women.  To continue raising awareness of the significant role that heart disease plays in women’s health, IDPH is encouraging Illinoisans to celebrate National Wear Red Day with Go Red For Women on Friday, February 6, 2015.

For more information about heart disease, visit

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