Once, cardiovascular disease was thought of as a “older man’s disease.” But, as the American Heart Association’s “Go Red For Women” campaign grows, more and more women realize that, in taking charge of their own health, they must also consider their heart health, as well.
In 2003, the American Heart Association joined forces with other organizations committed to women’s health, including the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), to raise the public’s awareness of the realities of women and heart disease. The NHLBI introduced the red dress as a symbol of that awareness, and it was also adopted by the AHA, creating a united front for all organizations committed to raising awareness of women and heart disease.
Only 55 percent of women understand that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, says the AHA. The Go Red For Women movement, the AHA explains, was implemented to bring awareness of this fact to women, and to explain the risk factors that lead to this deadly disease.
Revenues raised by Go Red For Women activities go into the goal of informing women about their risk of heart disease. According to the AHA, the Go Red Heart CheckUp program, for example, has helped more than 2 million women learn about their own risk of heart disease. This is especially important, the AHA points out, because, “based on our own research, a woman who 'Goes Red' follows an exercise routine, eats healthier diet, visits her doctor for important tests and influences others by talking about heart health (Source: Go Red For Women Database Survey, fall 2007).”
The funds raised by Go Red For Women activities also help support research into heart health, which ultimately becomes tools women can use to support their own heart health. And, healthcare providers receive information, guidelines, special reports, toolkits and continuing education to make sure that women receive the best, most informed care possible. Through national sponsor Merck & Co., the AHA reports that over 200,000 healthcare provider offices have received such Go Red For Women educational tools.