Many staff members at Jefferson Community Health Center dressed in red on Friday, Feb. 6, in honor of National Wear Red Day – when the entire nation gets decked out in red to support the fight against heart disease in women.
Major landmarks and buildings are lit up red from New York to California, and JCHC staff members were among many people nationwide sporting their best red outfits from coast to coast. It’s all to make the very dramatic point that far too many people are not aware of: Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of all women, taking more lives than all forms of cancer combined, according to the American Heart Association.
Go Red for Women and National Wear Red Day was created because of a lack of knowledge and the assumption that heart disease was an old man’s problem.
Just over a decade ago, a survey revealed that women just didn’t know heart disease was their most serious health threat.
Since then, Go Red For Women has saved hundreds of thousands of lives and informed millions about the deadly toll heart disease is taking. Since Go Red was founded in 2004, an estimated 627,000 lives have been saved. And 9 of 10 women involved in the movement have had at least one healthy change in their lives.
“After a decade, we’re proud to say that we’ve reached millions of women across the nation with the same urgent message – that heart disease is their No. 1 health threat,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association. “I know we can achieve even more on behalf of the 43 million women who currently are affected by heart disease and in the future we can help many more women prevent the development of heart disease.”
Wear Red Day was about spreading awareness but also celebrating lifesaving successes.
Jill Duis RN, infection preventionist at JCHC and advocate for women’s heart health, said she was proud of her fellow staff members for their willingness to wear red and support women’s heart health.
Despite all the excitement of the day – and all the progress over the years – there is still much to do, says the American Heart Association. Even though fewer women are dying from heart disease, cardiovascular diseases remain the No. 1 killer of women. About 43 million women are affected by cardiovascular disease and 90 percent have at least one risk factor for developing it. Many women still don’t realize heart disease is their biggest health threat.
Women need to especially be aware of some silent symptoms – including shortness of breath, back pain, jaw pain and nausea. Other symptoms of heart attack include pressure or pain in the chest; pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach; shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort; breaking out in a cold sweat; or lightheadedness. Anyone who experiences symptoms of heart attack should dial 9-1-1 or have someone drive them to a hospital.
Jefferson Community Health Center’s emergency room is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for any kind of emergency, including potential heart attack.
For more information on Wear Red Day or heart disease, go to www.goredforwomen.org, or www.heart.org.