The time to gain awareness is now, in February, for American Heart Month. On the 3rd of the month, women dressed in red from all over the U.S will gather at local luncheons, galas benefits, and heart walk events as a part of the “Go Red for Women Campaign” for 2012. The American Heart Association (AHA) created this social initiative in 2004 to raise awareness of a disease that is responsible for ending more women’s lives than all the cancers and diseases combined–heart disease. The disease, affecting the heart or blood vessels, is the number one killer of women. The AHA is actively spreading the word about National Wear Red Day to empower women everywhere to stay heart-healthy in efforts to improve cardiovascular health in the U.S by 20% in 2020.
Former Co-Host of The View and heart disease survivor Star Jones Reynolds promotes the Go Red for Women campaign and shares her story with others.
“I learned late in life that my heart is my greatest asset, which is why I celebrate National Wear Red Day. Join me,” she said on goredforwomen.org.
Jones is a National Volunteer for the American Heart Association who was unaware of the national epidemic of cardiovascular disease until she had to have open heart surgery as a result of the disease. The View announced on Wednesday that Jones will appear on the daytime talk show on Feb. 22 to promote an awareness campaign about heart disease among women.
- Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) causes 1 in every 3 deaths in the United States annually according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.)
- Coronary Heart Disease is the most common type of heart disease and the leading cause of heart attacks. It caused 1 in every 6 deaths in the United States in 2007, and 785,000 new attacks will occur annually according a report from the AHA, Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2011 Update.
- Stroke accounted for 1 in every 18 deaths in 2007.
- 1 and 9 death certificates mentioned heart failure in 2007.
- CVD rates are higher in the U.S for African-American women than their white counterparts. Hispanics have the lowest percentage of cardiovascular deaths by 21.7% reported the Journal of American College of Cardiology.
- Hypertension, high cholesterol levels, and smoking can lead to heart disease. And 49.7% of U.S. adults over 20 years old have at least one of the three risk factors
While the number of CVD cases is alarming, the good news is that the disease is largely preventable by breaking unhealthy habits. For instance, smoking, eating processed foods and foods high in salt, fat, and cholesterol are all major causes of heart disease. Instead, go for foods like fruits and vegetables, fish, fiber-rich whole grains, and nuts. It is also helpful to build a stress-free environment by learning to manage stress. The link between stress and heart disease is unclear, but stress makes other risk factors such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure worse according to MedicineNet.
(Click here for warning signs of a stroke or heart-attack)
Causes for kids
Children are not exempt from heart diseases and conditions. Among children from the ages of two to 19 years old, 31.7% are overweight and obese, which is a risk factor in developing heart diseases and other diseases. That’s why the American Heart Association and American Association for Physical Activity and Recreation (AAHPERD) offer Jump Rope for Heart for grammar school children to raise money for treatment for kids with special hearts.
“We all know someone or a family member who has had some type of heart condition. This is for the kids,” said mom Tara Maria of Linden, New Jersey in support of her son who is currently participating in the event.
In the program, the children learn about their hearts and how to live healthier. Another lesson the children learn that is equally important is how to make a difference in other’s lives by getting involved.
The Event: Go Red for Women, Macy’s Herald Square 151 W 34th street, New York, NY 10001
Phone: 1212-695-4400, Website: http://www.macys.com
Jump Rope for Heart: Support Desk toll-free at 1-877-824-8531