First Ladies discuss women's heart health

First lady Laura Bush and former first lady Nancy Reagan on Wednesday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library near Simi Valley, Calif., participated in a panel discussion on women's cardiac health and toured the "First Ladies Red Dress Collection," a collection of red dresses worn by first ladies that aims to promote heart health among women, the Los Angeles Times reports (Griggs, Los Angeles Times, 3/1).

The red dress collection is a traveling exhibit organized by NIH's "The Heart Truth" campaign and Quaker Oatmeal, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports.

NIH said the exhibit, which will offer no-cost heart disease risk factor screenings at major cities across the country, aims to "deliver an urgent heart health wake-up call to local women."

The exhibit debuted at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2005 (Wilson, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 2/28).

Bush said that women often mark symptoms of heart attack, such as jaw or neck pain and fatigue, "off as part of their life or as anxiety."

Bush and Reagan took part in a discussion on heart health with physicians and five female cardiac patients from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and the University of California-Los Angeles Program in Preventive Cardiology.

According to experts, more than 80% of a person's risk for heart problems can be reduced or eliminated by having a healthy lifestyle, the Times reports (Los Angeles Times, 3/1).

CNN's "Larry King Live" on Monday interviewed Bush about heart disease in women.

In the interview, Bush said that women should be aware of cardiovascular risk factors, such as obesity, smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol (King, "Larry King Live," CNN, 2/26).

A transcript of the segment is available online.


Kaiser Health NewsThis article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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