Wearing Red to Raise Awareness of Heart Disease in Women

Aimee Simone, Pharmacy Times
Published Online: Friday, February 1, 2013
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National Wear Red Day, held on February 1 this year, encourages women—and men—to wear red to raise awareness of heart disease in women.

Heart disease is the culprit in 1 in 3 deaths of women in the United States; that’s about a death per minute. Approximately 43 million women in the country are affected by heart disease, and 90% of women have at least 1 risk factor for developing it. As scary as these statistics sound, the lack of heart disease awareness among women is even more shocking.
 
Only 1 out of 5 women in the United States believes that heart disease is her greatest health risk. Most women believe that heart disease affects more men than women, but that hasn’t been true since 1984; for almost 30 years, more women than men have died from heart disease each year.
 
In 2003, when almost half a million women were dying each year from heart disease, the American Heart Association (AHA) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute decided to take action. They created National Wear Red Day.
 
National Wear Red Day is held on the first Friday in February and encourages women and men alike to wear red to raise awareness for heart disease in women. The color red was chosen because it symbolizes the heart and because women who wear red often feel confident and powerful, feelings the AHA encourages women to experience based on the knowledge that they are doing everything in their power to protect themselves from heart disease.
 
To continue promoting awareness year round, the AHA established the Go Red for Women campaign in 2004. The initiative calls on women to learn about the risk factors for heart disease and to take action against the condition.
 
In the 10 years since the first National Wear Red Day, heart disease related deaths in women have fallen by 21%, and the portion of women who recognize that heart disease is their top health threat has increased by 23%.
 
Despite these significant achievements, heart disease remains the top killer of women in the United States. Further increasing awareness remains the key to preventing heart disease. If more women understand their risk, they will be more likely to take the steps needed to prevent heart attacks, strokes, and deaths caused by heart disease.
 
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