For women, heart disease prevention remains critical, particularly for younger ages, despite the fact that awareness is at an all time high. More than ever, women know that heart disease is their No. 1 killer, yet millions still underestimate their personal risk and the impact can be devastating. African-American women, in particular, are disproportionately affected by heart disease and have higher rates for some of its risk factors.
As we approach National Wear Red Day on Feb. 5, Americans are encouraged to wear red to remind women that heart disease is their No. 1 killer. The Red Dress is the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness. Wear a red shirt, tie, dress or a Red Dress Pin on this national day to help inspire women to take action to reduce their risk for heart disease.
The Heart Truth—a national awareness campaign for women about heart disease sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute—also wants women to know the good news, that heart disease is largely preventable.
In fact, by leading a healthy lifestyle, Americans can lower their risk of heart disease by as much as 82 percent by eating right, exercising, maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking.
Consider these additional facts:
•More than 80 percent of midlife African-American women are overweight or obese, 52 percent have hypertension, and 14 percent have been diagnosed with diabetes.
•Although awareness has increased among African American women, they are 70 percent more likely than White women to die of the condition within the year of a first heart attack, and at younger ages.
•In 2006, the death rate for Black women was 33 percent higher than for White women, compared to 20 percent higher in 1980. At ages 25-54, the death rate was almost three times higher in Black than White women.
•Red Dress Auction, (www.clothesoffourback.org)
The Heart Truth is working with Clothes Off Our Back—a nonprofit online auction organization—for the second consecutive year in a row to auction off a selection of celebrity dresses from their annual Red Dress Collection fashion shows. The proceeds from the auction will support women’s heart health research.
•National Wear Red Day Tool Kit (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/educational/hearttruth/materials/wear-red-toolkit.htm) This online toolkit provides useful information and resources that can help celebrate National Wear Red Day 2010 in your community.