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February is National Heart Month

Narrator: This is Science Today. February is ‘National Heart Month' and not because of Valentine's Day - it's to increase public awareness about heart disease. Even though cardiovascular disease ranks as the leading cause of death in women in this country, the majority do not consider heart disease the biggest threat to their health.

Redberg: One in three women will die of cardiovascular disease in this country. Whereas, about one in nine for breast cancer, which is commonly what women will cite as their biggest health fear.

Narrator: Dr. Rita Redberg directs Women's Cardiovascular Services at the University of California, San Francisco. Because heart disease is largely preventable, Redberg says that understanding one's personal risk is of utmost importance.

Redberg: Because there are a lot of things that people can do to prevent heart disease. But if you're not thinking that heart disease is ever going to be an issue for you, then you're not as likely to engage in preventative type behavior. And unfortunately, it's true for most of us that heart disease will be an issue.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.