For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
February 5, 2004
Mrs. Bush Speaks to Women about Heart Disease
Remarks by First Lady Laura Bush in Media Availability
February 4, 2004
5:12 P.M. EST
MRS. BUSH: Thank you all for coming down. I wanted to get the
word out about heart disease to women. It's really important to let
women know that heart disease is the number one killer of women in
America. And that women don't often have exactly the same symptoms as
One of the reasons that more women die every year -- and it's
estimated about 65,000 more women die every year than men -- is because
women don't go to the hospital as quickly as men do. So the whole
purpose of The Heart Truth campaign is to get that word out to women so
that if they start to feel badly, they can go to the hospital and don't
wait until they have severe chest pain, because they may never have
A lot of times, they'll have jaw pain or neck pain, indigestion.
One of the women who spoke at the White House on Monday when we
launched The Heart Truth month, American Heart Month, said she had
already been to the doctor because she had extreme fatigue. He had
taken her vital signs and said she was fine. And her only real symptom
was sort of a burning in her shoulder blade and she couldn't sleep. She
So she had heard us on television. This was in Kansas City. She
had heard a Heart Truth campaign event and she heard that women didn't
have the same symptoms always as men. So she rushed to the hospital
and she was, in fact, having a heart attack.
So that's the word we want you all to get out to help people out.
Q Your husband is legendary for his fitness, running
seven-minute miles, maybe six-minute miles, I don't know what it is.
How come you're not joining him on his runs? Do you have it in you?
MRS. BUSH: I can't do it; I'm too old. (Laughter.) I can't run
with him. He's about to get too old to run, actually. (Laughter.)
He has been a great inspiration to me, I'll admit it. All those
years when I would still be asleep in the morning and I'd wake up and
roll over and he was running, you know, gone and running, I would feel
very guilty and it would force me to get up and go do an aerobics class
or something. But now I walk and I work out with a trainer, I lift
Q If I could just have another question? I'm a doctor and I
get to play one on TV, for CBS News. You know, I've read a lot of
medical literature that doctors underestimate women's symptoms, for
what you are talking about. A lot of times, they're atypical
symptoms. And also, they're much less likely to use cardiac resources,
they're less likely to order an angiograms on them.
MRS. BUSH: And that's one point of The Heart Truth campaign, and
that is to get the word out to doctors, too. You're right. One of the
women that I met in another town told me that when she went to the
hospital, the emergency room, the emergency room doctor said, you know,
you seem fine. And she said, no, I'm not. And she really had to
insist that he do an EKG to find out.
So we are trying to get the word out to doctors, the same word that
heart disease is not just a man's disease. But one of the things I
don't know if we've emphasized it enough today, and that is heart
disease is also the number one killer of American men. So for men, and
for women, just a simple change in their lifestyle can really help you
prevent having heart disease.
But if you suffer anything that you think is heart disease, go
straight to the emergency room, because there are so many really good
new treatments for heart disease.
Any other questions?
Q Will you be coming to Florida often in the next nine months?
MRS. BUSH: I hope so. I love to come to Florida. I hope I'll
have a chance to come again. I think I have a trip scheduled -- in
March, so next month.
Okay, thanks everybody. Thank you very much. I urge you to get
the message out. And I really appreciate it. Thanks a lot.
END 5:17 P.M. EST