The American Heart Association, through its Go Red For Women movement, urges everyone to support the fight against heart disease by wearing red on National Wear Red Day Friday, Feb. 7.
American Heart Month is in February, a perfect time to focus on the prevalence of heart disease, America's No. 1 killer. It is also a time to pause and celebrate the research and education that make lifesaving advances in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease a reality.
On National Wear Red Day, thousands of people, including employees at many companies across the country, will wear red to support the cause. Men and women everywhere are encouraged to join in to show their support by wearing red on Feb. 7. The red dress and the color red symbolize one's support in the fight against heart disease.
Go Red For Women is the American Heart Association's cause initiative designed to save women's lives. Too many women die each year because they are unaware that heart disease is their No. 1 killer.
One in three women dies of this largely preventable disease. This year is especially important as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Go Red For Women national movement.
In our first 10 years, we've changed millions of hearts, said Kyle Kankonde, Administrative Associate for Communications and Health Strategies for the American Heart Association, Midwest Affiliate at Okemos, Mich.
Ten years ago, the American Heart Association discovered that heart disease killed more women than men.
And it took more women's lives than all forms of cancer combined. So we created Go Red For Women, a network of women dedicated to education, support and research. Since then we've educated millions of women on the dangers of heart disease and made major changes in health care, Kankonde said.
Over these first ten years, we've tracked the progress for millions of women involved and the improvements within the healthcare industry, she said. Here are ten encouraging accomplishments that make all of those involved in this groundbreaking movement very proud.
Top 10 Accomplishments
Lives are being saved.
- 34 percent fewer women now die from heart disease.
- More than 627,000 women's lives have been saved.
Overall heart health has improved.
- Nearly 90 percent of participants made healthy lifestyle changes.
- 37 percent have lost excess weight.
- More than half now exercise more.
- 60 percent now eat healthier diets.
- 43 percent have had their cholesterol checked.
Awareness of heart disease has increased.
- 23 percent increase in awareness that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women.
Unhealthy lifestyle risks have decreased.
- Smoking decreased by 15.1 percent.
- Cholesterol levels decreased 18.1 percent
Diversity challenges have been identified and targeted.
- Heart disease rates vary by ethnicity, with unique challenges for each.
- Targeted efforts are reaching African American and Hispanic women.
Grassroots movement has grown substantially.
- Enrollment has grown from 395,000 to 1,751,512.
- Women completing Go Red Heart Check-ups has increased from 127,227 to 1,960,704.
- Annual Go Red luncheons/events have grown from 65 to 1,377 nationwide.
- Website hits have grown from 293,000 to 56.6 million.
Advocacy efforts have been successful.
- Congress passed the Heart for Women Act in 2012, requiring the FDA to report clinical trials based on gender.
- We helped increase funding from the Center for Disease Control to provide screenings for low-income women.
- We helped pass a law in 2010 to keep women's health insurance premiums from costing more than men's.
Gender-specific guidelines have been developed for prevention and treatment.
- We're helping physicians recognize that women's heart symptoms and treatment are different from men's.
- Our "Get With the Guidelines" program has helped hospitals provide improved heart treatment for both genders.
We've helped medical research become gender-specific.
- Women have been under represented in clinical studies, but the FDA now requires results reported by gender.
- Increased gender-based research has revealed important differences in women's symptoms and response to medications.
Gender-specific inequalities are identified and targeted.
- Nationwide, we've discovered that women aren't receiving the same level of treatment for heart disease as men. But this is changing!
The fight is not over. Heart disease is still the No. 1 killer of women. But it doesn't have to be. We've made great progress in our first ten years, and with your continued help, we'll keep working to change women's hearts.
For more information about American Heart Month or National Wear Red Day, visit www.GoRedForWomen.org/WearRedDay.