Photo Credit: goredforwomen.org
National Wear Red Day (Feb 1) is the American Heart Association’s campaign to raise awareness about women’s risk of heart disease. Like donning pink to promote Breast Cancer Awareness Month, National Wear Red Day asks women to wear red as a reminder to learn more about heart-disease risk factors and make heart health a priority.
Unlike breast cancer though, the disease doesn’t strike the fear in women -- even though heart disease kills more women than all cancers combined. In fact, it’s the number-one killer of women. That may seem unremarkable until you consider the fact that heart disease is almost completely preventable -- if you live a heart-healthy lifestyle. While your family tree does play a part, research suggests that healthy habits can trump your genes.
This year celebrates the 10th anniversary of National Wear Red Day. Since the first event, 21 percent fewer women are dying from heart disease and nearly a quarter more recognize that it’s their number-one health threat.
Before campaigns like this, doctors did not realize that heart disease had different symptoms and outcomes in women and men because only men were used in almost all medical studies -- researchers just assumed the results would apply to both sexes.
Even though we know now that signs of a heart attack are different in women than in men, most women still wouldn't be able to list the symptoms. When Rosie O’Donnell suffered a heart attack last year, she didn’t know it. Her symptoms -- body aches, nausea, weakness and feeling hot and clammy -- did not resemble the classic signs, like chest pain, that men get. Learning these differences could just save your life.
So, on Friday, don’t just wear red; ask yourself if you’re treating your heart the way you should be. If you don’t know your cholesterol or blood pressure numbers, make your doctor’s appointment today.
Bonus: It's almost Valentine’s Day and, if you want to make a guy’s heart go pitter-patter, research shows men are more attracted to women when they wear red. So by putting on your favorite fiery frock, you can do your heart two favors at once. We ask our men take good care of our heart. Let’s make sure we’re doing the same.