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If you are a woman in her 20s or 30s, you may not have been all that concerned with the health of your heart. Statistics show that there is a serious lack of understanding among women about the dangers of heart disease and stroke. As we enter American Heart Month this February, however, there may be reason to start paying attention. Here’s why:

1. Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is the #1 Killer Among Women: According to the results of a 2003 study, only 13 percent of women in America believe that heart disease and stroke are the greatest health threat to women. The reality is, however, that CVD is THE largest cause of female deaths in America. Specifically, in 2005, CVD claimed the lives of 454,613 females, while cancer of all forms claimed the lives of 268,890 women. Further, American women are 4 to 6 times more likely to die of heart disease than of breast cancer.

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2. CVD Can Affect Women of Every Age: Heart disease develops over time and can start as early as the teenage years. Girls, teenagers and young adults can make lifestyle-related choices that can increase heart disease risk or decrease risk. Lack of physical activity, smoking and poor nutritional choices can all play a role in the early development of heart disease. As a result, it is important to make good lifestyle choices at the earliest age possible.

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