We’ve made many strides since 2004, when the American Heart Association launched its Go Red for Women awareness campaign.
But we’ve still got a long way to go.
Heart disease in women
Heart disease — the number one killer of women (and men) — claims the lives of 1 in 3 women. To put that in perspective, that’s a third of our mothers, sisters and friends. The odds are even greater among black women, with nearly half over the age of 20 having some form of cardiovascular disease.
Since 2004, awareness among women that heart disease is their greatest health threat has increased to more than 50 percent. Given the fact that 80 percent of cardiac events are preventable, Go Red for Women aims to educate and empower women to fight heart disease.
Some heart disease risk factors, such as age, gender and family history, are of out of our control. But others can be treated or managed. Go Red for Women encourages women to take the simple steps of getting regular physical activity and eating and drinking healthy to lower risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Know your numbers
In addition to lifestyle changes, it’s important for women to “Know Your Numbers.” There are five key health numbers – total cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and body mass index – that help determine risk for heart disease.
Yes, heart disease is women’s leading cause of death. But Go Red for Women, nationally sponsored by CVS Health, can help us overcome this deadly enemy. And there’s no better time than now to join the movement at GoRedforWomen.org and commit to taking charge of your heart health.
Jennifer H Mieres, MD, Cardiologist, Northwell Health Volunteer medical expert, American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women, [email protected]