This Friday is the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women’s National Wear Red Day. It’s an ongoing effort to spread awareness of women and heart disease. Join Atherotech in wearing red and sharing your photos on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/atherotech and with me on Twitter @Atherotech.
For the past decade National Wear Red Day has focused on making women in America healthier, more educated and aware of their risk of heart disease. Better screenings and treatments are saving lives. In fact, since the start of this outreach day in 2004, Go Red for Women reports great strides in women’s CVD health:
- 15% fewer smoke
- 18% percent decline in high cholesterol
- 25% more get the exercise they need
For health care providers, the AHA established evidence-based, female-specific guidelines to ensure the best possible care for women. The organization also backed legislation, called the “Heart for Women Act,” requiring researchers to report how clinical trials, drugs and medical devices affect women. Research discoveries have shown differences in women’s CVD symptoms and responses to medication.
Every year, the AHA works together with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and other government agencies to compile the most comprehensive and up-to-date statistics on heart disease, stroke and other vascular diseases. Here are a few I’ll be sharing with my patients:
- Shockingly, 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.
- Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease.
- While 1 in 31 American women die from breast cancer each year, 1 in 3 dies of heart disease.
- Only 1 in 5 American women believes that heart disease is her greatest health threat.
- Hispanic women are likely to develop heart disease 10 years earlier than Caucasian women.
- Of African American women ages 20 and older, 46.9 percent have cardiovascular disease.
- Only 1 in 5 African American women thinks she is personally at risk for heart disease.
Awareness among patients and clinicians is crucial to address heart disease risk in women. Screening for high blood pressure, sugar abnormalities, lipid abnormalities, weight/waist changes, nutrition/exercise changes and finally smoking cessation is the key to having heart-healthy patients.
Learn more: Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics — 2013 Update, a report from the American Heart Association (Circulation. 2013; 127: e6-e245 Published online before print December 12, 2012, http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/127/1/e6.full.)
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