For nearly a century, the American Heart Association (AHA) has been fighting heart disease and stroke by funding innovative research and providing critical tools and information to help people take control of their heart health. The AHA’s work since 1924 has led to research investments exceeding $4 billion. The Association has also established various public programs supported by a nationwide network of more than 3,400 employees and 30 million volunteers.
In the early 2000s, the AHA began expanding its efforts to raise awareness about women’s health and cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death among women in the United States. Much of the AHA’s work in this area is driven by Go Red For Women, a health-based awareness initiative now in its second decade. Read on to learn more about the initiative and how it empowers women to lead healthier lives.
Addressing a Serious Threat to Women’s Health
When the American Heart Association launched Go Red For Women in 2004, more than a half million American women were dying from cardiovascular disease each year. Despite its impact on female health, however, many people still viewed heart disease as a problem that only men and older adults had to worry about. For many years, this erroneous view of heart disease and risk was further propagated by researchers who made men the subject of the heart disease studies that informed early treatment guidelines and programs.
Although public awareness of heart disease among women has improved, a significant knowledge gap still exists. In fact, nearly half of all women are unaware that heart disease is their gender’s leading cause of death. Even more women lack basic knowledge of how risk factors such as cholesterol and blood pressure affect their heart health. While many women are taking steps to get healthier, their unawareness of their risk of heart disease persists.
How Does Go Red For Women Help?
With approximately one woman dying from heart disease every minute, Go Red For Women’s main goal is to save lives. As part of the initiative, the AHA provides information on a variety of heart-related topics at GoRedforWomen.org. Visitors to the website can explore sections covering congenital heart defects, atherosclerosis, and heart disease prevention. The site also lists heart disease myths and statistics and includes links to educational tools and resources that women can use to live heart healthy.
In addition to educating women through its website, the Go Red For Women initiative provides continuing medical education to help healthcare providers improve heart health among their female patients. Funds raised through the initiative also support heart disease research and community programs such as the Go Red Heart CheckUp, which has educated more than 2 million women nationwide about their heart disease risk. Through these and other activities, Go Red For Women supports the broader AHA mission, including its goal to reduce heart-disease-related death and disabilities among Americans by 20 percent by the year 2020.
What Does It Mean to Go Red?
Since Go Red For Women launched, over 900,000 women have joined the initiative in order to improve their health. Women who “go red” eat healthily, exercise regularly, manage stress, and stay informed about their heart-health numbers by visiting their doctors for regular checkups. They also follow their doctors’ advice, taking medications and any other steps needed to improve their health.
Along with taking action for themselves, members of the Go Red For Women community work to improve public health by advocating for heart disease prevention. The initiative provides tools that participants can use to teach others healthy habits and promote access to quality, affordable healthcare. Go Red advocates take action through AHA initiatives such as You’re the Cure, which urges the US Congress to prioritize funding for heart disease and stroke research and prevention programs.
Ways to Support Go Red For Women
The best thing that people can do to support the Go Red initiative is to learn their heart numbers and take steps to improve their cardiovascular health using the information, tools, and resources available through the American Heart Association. Supporters can also make a donation or raise awareness about the initiative by joining a local Go Red meetup group or simply wearing their favorite red clothes.
Each year, the Go Red For Women community also hosts various fundraisers and awareness events, including National Wear Red Day. Supported by corporate sponsors such as Macy’s and CVS Pharmacy, National Wear Red Day brings men and women together on the first Friday in February to educate the public and raise awareness about the importance of heart disease prevention and screening.
Other Go Red For Women activities includes Macy’s Red Dress Collection event, an annual fundraiser held during New York Fashion Week. In 2018, Marisa Tomei hosted the event, which featured models and celebrities such as Kathy Ireland, Melissa Joan Hart, and Niki Taylor walking in Macy’s dresses designed for the Go Red For Women initiative.
More information about Go Red For Women programs and activities is available at http://www.goredforwomen.org.
Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.