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Arriving for the State Dinner President George W. Bush, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, her husband Jose Miguel Arroyo and Laura Bush greet the press from the North Portico of the White House Monday, May 19, 2003.
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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
Baptist Hospital
Miami, Florida
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 men.

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 that symptom.

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 was sleepless.

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. Any questions?

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 weights.

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

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