To kick off February’s American Heart Month, the American Heart Association and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute have created National Wear Red Day.
This day is held annually on the first Friday in February to support and spread information about heart disease being the #1 killer of women. February 2, 2018 will mark 15 years of national support since the movement began in 2003.
Why “Go Red”? In science, red is defined as a dynamic and passionate color symbolizing love, rage, and courage. Those who wear red are described as energetic and striving for success. It may just be coincidental that red also happens to be the color of our heart, but certainly, the meaningful impact of red is why the American Heart Association and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute have chosen this color to signify their fight against the #1 cause of death in women – heart disease.
Each year, cardiovascular disease kills one woman every 80 seconds in the U.S. alone, and it claims more women’s lives than all cancers combined. Fortunately, this number can be changed, as 80 percent of heart disease is preventable through action and education. To begin your own personal heart health journey, you and your healthcare provider can easily determine your risk of developing cardiovascular disease by knowing these five numbers:
1. Blood Pressure
2. Body Mass Index (BMI)
3. Total Cholesterol
4. HDL (good) Cholesterol
5. Blood Sugar
Studies have shown that bringing attention to these numbers with a healthcare professional has helped 90 percent of women nationwide take action and make a single behavioral change to reduce their risk of developing heart disease. They’ve chosen to change their diet habits, maintain their cholesterol levels, or increase their amount of exercise to improve their heart health. Of course, all of these actions combined will greatly contribute to your cardiovascular health, but taking just one of these steps is a tremendous start toward preventive care.
Since the National Wear Red Day movement began 15 years ago, the women’s fatality rate has decreased by 30 percent. However, despite this incredible progress, the fact remains that 30 percent isn’t even half of the 80 percent recorded average that’s preventable. While it’s powerful to hear the statistics, we – without a doubt – have the knowledge and strength to overcome these numbers, promote healthy living, and actually save lives.
Red has proven to have an emotional impact as it demands attention, so let’s all join together on National Wear Red Day on February 2 to support millions of mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends. Together we can permanently revolutionize the impact of heart disease on our world.
To support educational programs to increase women’s awareness and fund critical research to advance scientific knowledge about cardiovascular health, please donate to https://donatenow.heart.org/goredforwomen/.
Shawna Sabedra is a freelance writer