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Heart disease is the nation's No. 1 killer of women.

To prevent heart disease and increase awareness of its effects, Van Wert County General Health District is participating in American Heart Month. That's why the Go Red For Women Movement was created and National Wear Red Day furthers that mission. Last December, the CDC reported that after almost three decades in decline, the number of deaths from heart disease - in both American men and women - has increased.

News anchors, local personalities, companies and corporations are supporting the day by wearing red, the Heart Association said. Heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide.

Organizers encourage women to pay close attention to the causes and prevention because they say more women than men die from the disease each year.

Fortunately, that can be changed because 80% of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with education and action.

Although chest pain is the most common symptom of heart attack for both women and men, it is not always the main complaint for women. It is important to be armed with heart health knowledge, including knowing the five key numbers that affect risk for heart disease total cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and body mass index.

Most women do not make the connection between heart disease risk factors and their own personal risk of developing it, Baisley said.

Individuals can lower their risk by watching their weight, quitting smoking, staying away from secondhand smoke, controlling their cholesterol and blood pressure, drinking alcohol in moderation, getting active and eating healthy.

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