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BLOOMINGTON — American Heart Association's Go Red for Women movement will spread awareness of heart disease and stroke in women on Feb. 6, Wear Red Day. Women are encouraged to wear red, decorate their homes and offices in red and encourage other women to make a change to improve their heart health at www.goredforwomen.org.

"Awareness is the key to fight heart disease in women," said Dr. Anitha Perinchery, cardiologist with HeartCare Midwest at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center.

More women die of heart disease and stroke than men. But women's heart attack symptoms may differ from men's, making it difficult for women to recognize that they're having a heart attack.

"Women may have atypical symptoms of tiredness, back pain, fatigue and flu-like symptoms," Perinchery said. Men are more likely to have the classic heart pain.

Eighty percent of heart disease may be prevented with a healthy lifestyle that includes a healthy diet and regular exercise, Perinchery said.

"Take ownership and know your risk," she advised. "Talk with and get to a primary care physician and get checked for hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol. Keep your weight within an appropriate range and be active, exercise daily and eat healthy."

St. Joseph, the sponsor of Go Red for Women in McLean County, encourages everyone to wear red on Feb. 6 to support heart health awareness.

To participate in Wear Red Day, visit www.goredforwomen.org/wearredday for health materials to hand out to others. Post photos of yourself and others wearing red using #GoRedIL. You may post them to your social media feed or to the American Heart Association Illinois Facebook page or Twitter feed.

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