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ISSUE: National Wear Red Day
OUR VIEW: Take action through attire
Still in your bathrobe? Go put on something red.
Already dressed in another color? Go back to your closet and change.
Red. It’s a great color. It conjures excitement and an image of grace. It’s a power color that’s been known to boost self-confidence. It pops, drawing eyes. It signifies love and warmth.
Red has a lot going for it. But today it’s an especially meaningful wardrobe choice, for it’s the color of our hearts. Today is National Wear Red Day, a day to raise awareness of the No. 1 killer of women, heart disease.
More deadly than all cancers combined, heart disease causes one in three American women’s deaths each year, according to the American Heart Association.
It’s time for women everywhere to better understand how heart disease can affect them. It’s not just a man’s disease; it’s just not an older person’s disease. And women might experience different symptoms than men. For example, women are somewhat more likely than men to experience shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting and back or jaw pain, the association reports.
Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.
Risk factors include poor cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, physical inactivity and being overweight. The association reports smoking and diabetes increase the risk of heart disease and stroke by two to four times.
Age and family history also influence the risk for heart disease and, unfortunately, there’s nothing to be done about that. But lifestyle changes for a healthier heart can cut the risk by as much as 80 percent.
Find out about your cholesterol levels, track your blood pressure and know your risk of diabetes. Give up smoking. Make healthier food choices.
Of course, this is all easier said than done, but there are multiple resources throughout the community to help make these changes. Seek them out.
Encourage others to do the same. Consider wearing red today as a word of encouragement.
Kicking off National Heart Month, today is the 10th anniversary of National Wear Red Day. In the past decade, American women have given heart disease a good fight. Twenty-one percent fewer women die from heart disease than 10 years ago. More women are aware heart disease is their No. 1 health threat. More gender-specific research has been done and legislation to help end gender disparities has passed.
But there’s more to do. Women are under-represented in heart-related studies and there’s evidence women don’t understand how threatening heart disease is.
While that red dress, sweater or tie always makes a statement, today let it signal that you support women’s fight against heart disease and you’re spreading the word.
This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.