ABBOTT PARK, Ill., Feb. 1 As a leader in cardiovasculartreatment and the exclusive Chicagoland "hometown" partner for the national"Go Red for Women" program, Abbott (NYSE: ABT) (http://www.abbott.com) ispartnering with the American Heart Association (AHA) to raise awareness aboutheart disease, the leading cause of death for women in America.
One out of every three American women will die of heart disease, yet,according to AHA, only 13 percent of women believe heart disease is theirgreatest health risk. While largely preventable, heart disease in women oftengoes underdiagnosed and undertreated. Data shows that most women fail to makethe connection between risk factors like high blood pressure and highcholesterol and their risk of developing heart disease.
Through this year-long campaign, which kicks off in February -- AmericanHeart Month -- Abbott and AHA hope to raise awareness that even women withoutclassic risk factors and symptoms may be at risk -- just ask MichelleSmietana, a software testing engineer at Abbott. Ironically, Michelle justhad her blood pressure and cholesterol checked -- both were normal. While sheused to smoke and had been a bit overweight, she was feeling strong andhealthy so she didn't know what to suspect last spring when she experiencedsome back pain that crept into her neck. At just 33, both she and thecardiologist who treated her were shocked when her ultrasound results showedevidence of a heart attack.
According to AHA, Michelle is not alone. Heart attacks strike 9,000 womenyounger than 45 each year.
To increase the awareness of this and other little known facts about heartdisease, Dr. Sandra Burke, a scientist in the vascular division of Abbott, isdedicating her career and her free time to fighting heart disease.
Throughout the month, Abbott also will raise awareness about the rolenutrition plays in preventing heart disease by offering free oatmeal, known tobe heart healthy, to its 13,000 Chicago-area employees. Abbott also willprovide free health assessments and health coaching to employees.
In addition to raising awareness through campaigns like "Go Red," Abbottis committed to developing new drugs and medical devices to treat heartdisease and related conditions. With diagnostic tests, pharmaceuticalproducts, nutritional products and vascular stents to diagnose and treat heartdisease, Abbott has one of the world's leading heart disease and vascular carebusinesses.
Abbott's CEO, Miles White, sent an e-mail to the company's 35,000 U.S.employees earlier today echoing this commitment.
Go Red Heart Checkup
Women throughout Chicagoland can register today for a free online heartcheckup that predicts their personal risk of having a heart attack within 10years. To register, visit GoRedForWomen.org.
Abbott is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to thediscovery, development, manufacturing and marketing of pharmaceuticals andmedical products, including nutritionals, devices and diagnostics. Thecompany employs 65,000 people and markets its products in more than 130countries. Abbott's news releases and other information are available on thecompany's Web site at http://www.abbott.com."If heart disease can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. I was only 33, had low cholesterol and good blood pressure. I didn't have the "normal" symptoms you associate with heart disease like left arm pain and pressure in my chest. Going through cardiac rehabilitation helped make exercise a regular part of my life and has helped repair the damage to my heart. Through this campaign, I hope other women hear my story and take steps to understand their risk for heart disease." Michelle Smietana, of Abbott, 33-ye