Today, February 6th, is National Wear Red Day to raise awareness about heart disease and stroke in women. The Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators, with the support of many male legislators, recognized the Go Red For Women movement on February 4th by donning red attire and organizing a speaking program. Stroke survivor Jessica Diaz, a local Boston resident, shared her personal story of stroke in her early 30s. A healthy mother of two, Jessica never thought that she would suffer a stroke. After speaking with her doctors and doing research, she found that an estimated 43 million women in the US are affected by cardiovascular diseases and that she wasn’t alone.
Go Red For Women, sponsored and organized by the American Heart Association, is about making a change, providing education and raising awareness. Almost 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented with education and lifestyle changes.
FACTS ABOUT CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES
From the American Heart Association
FACT 1: Cardiovascular diseases cause one in three women’s deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every minute.
♥ An estimated 43 million women in the US are affected by cardiovascular diseases
♥ 90% of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke
♥ 80% of heart disease and stroke events could be prevented
FACT 2: Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease & stroke.
♥ Fewer women than men survive their first heart attacks
♥ The symptoms of heart attack can be different in women vs. men, and are often misunderstood – even by some physicians
♥ Women have a higher lifetime risk of stroke than men
♥ Each year, about 55,000 more women than men have a stroke
FACT 3: Heart disease and stroke affect women of all ethnicities.
♥ Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death for African-American women, killing nearly 50,000 annually
♥ Only 43% of African American women and 44% of Hispanic women know that heart disease is their greatest health risk, compared with 60% of Caucasian women
♥ Of African-American women ages 20 and older, 48.9% have cardiovascular disease. Yet, only 20% believe they are at risk
♥ Only 50% of African-American women are aware of the signs and symptoms of a heart attack
♥ Hispanic women are likely to develop heart disease 10 years earlier than Caucasian women
♥ Only 3 in 10 Hispanic women say they have been informed that they are at a higher risk
♥ Only 1 in 4 Hispanic women is aware of treatment options
FACT 4: Women who are involved with the Go Red For Women movement live healthier lives.
♥ Nearly 90% have made at least one healthy behavior change
♥ More than one-third has lost weight
♥ More than 50% have increased their exercise
♥ 6 out of 10 have changed their diets
♥ More than 40% have checked their cholesterol levels
♥ One third has talked with their doctors about developing heart health plans
FACT 5: When you get involved in supporting Go Red For Women by advocating, fundraising and sharing your story, more lives are saved.
♥ Today, nearly 300 fewer women die from heart disease and stroke each day
♥ Death in women has decreased by more than 30 percent over the past 10 years
For more information on heart-healthy choices and statistics, visit: GoRedForWomen.org